Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

North India continues to be under cold wave conditions

  • Cold wave continued to sweep north India. Delhi recorded the coldest day of the season with the minimum temperature settling at 5.2 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal. The maximum temperature was recorded at 15 degrees Celsius, seven notches below normal yesterday.

  • Most parts of Himachal Pradesh witnessed dry and overcast conditions with Keylong at minus 12 degrees Celsius recording the lowest temperature in the sate. Met department has predicted heavy rain and snowfall in Himachal during the next two days. Shimla and Dalhousie recorded 6.5 degrees Celsius each.

  • In Haryana, Narnaul reeled at 3.5 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal, as biting cold continued to sweep the state. Fog also reduced visibility in the morning at many places in Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. Union Territory Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 9.9 degree Celsius.

  • Cold wave conditions also prevailed in Rajasthan with Vanasthali in Tonk recording the lowest minimum temperature in the state at 4.4 degrees Celsius.

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, Banihal in Ramban and Bhaderwah in Doda district are reeling under sub-zero temperature. Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, registered a night temperature of 5.0 degrees Celsius.

Centre says India to become trillion dollar economy only with support from villages

  • Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said, the vision of achieving 5 trillion dollar economy and taking the nation to the path of development will be impossible if the progress of villages is not given due consideration.

  • He said, removal of imbalance between the lifestyle of villages and cities is need of the hour.MrTomar was speaking at National Awards Distribution Function in New Delhi today.

  • He stressed on the need to provide all the basic facilities equipped with modern technology to every village. He said, steps should be taken to increase the agri-productivity which can cater to the need of the entire nation.

  • The Minister said, all these combined efforts can empower villages and reduce the practice of mass migration of villagers to cities.

  • Talking about the MNREGA and other welfare schemes, Mr Tomar said, the budget of MNREGA in 2014 was 38 thousand crore but the government has increased it to 60 thousand crore in the last five years.

  • He said, under the third phase of PM Gram SadakYojna, the government has set a target of completing 1 lakh 25 thousand Kilometers by 2024-25 with a budget of nearly 80250 crore. He said, the government is very much committed to its completion.

  • Around 266 awards were given to individuals, institutions, Panchayats, blocks for their exemplary contribution in the rural development.

::ECONOMY::

NITI to hold consultations with family planning and population policy experts

  • NitiAayog will hold a national consultation on Friday with top policy makers, experts and specialists to brainstorm on ways and means of strengthening India’s population policy and family planning programme. The Aayog has partnered with the Population Foundation of India to bring the best minds together for discussion.

  • The proposals will form part of the NITI Aayog working paper that will outline the roadmap to help achieve India’s vision of attaining population stabilization, as voiced by Prime Minister NarendraModi in his Independence Day speech this year.

  • The paper will offer constructive recommendations to address regional disparities in outcomes by focusing on adolescents and youths, inter-departmental convergence, demand generation, access to contraceptive services and quality of care, it said.

  • The Aayog is of the view that nearly 30 million currently married women in the age group of 15-49 years have unmet needs in family planning, which limit their ability to delay or avoid pregnancy by not having access or the agency to use contraception.

  • "For India to realize its sustainable development goals and economic aspirations, it is important to ensure that people have informed access to contraception and quality family planning services," it said.

Govt. decides not to hurry on signing FTA’s

  • Commerce and industry minister PiyushGoyal on Tuesday said that India will not sign any free trade agreement (FTA) in a hurry or to the disadvantage of industry and exporters.

  • Referring to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, which India opted out of last month after negotiating it for seven years, Goyal said it had been reduced to an India-China FTA which nobody wants.

  • The minister also said walking out of RCEP does not mean that India does not want to be a part of the global value chain. “But are the global value chains only in China...global value chains are across the world,” he said, and stressed “lets first prepare our industry” and empower those who want to be part of the global chain.

  • He said industry should focus on becoming part of value chain with Europe, the US, ASEAN nations, Japan and Korea, among others. Goyal said that Indian business and industry have been put to disadvantage over the years and instead of addressing some of the real issues that industries face, more and more distress was caused to them.

  • The minister also said that the government was working relentlessly to support and strengthen domestic manufacturing. He said India will have to prepare itself for a rules-based multilateral trading system and for that, it will have to look at ways which are WTO-compliant, support industry from the base and then stand on its own feet.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India to expand cooperation with Portugal

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi held talks with Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa in New Delhi this afternoon.

  • Mr Costa arrived early this morning on a two-day working visit to India. During their talks, the leaders discussed the broader roadmap for strengthening relations in areas such as defence, science and technology and trade.

  • Our correspondent reports India and Portugal share warm and friendly relations. Portugal views India as a vibrant pluralistic democracy, a major world economy and an ancient civilisation with which it has close, historical and cultural ties.

  • In 2018-19, bilateral trade stood at a total value of 876.09 million dollars. Indian exports stood at 743.27 million dollars and Portuguese exports at 132.83 million dollars.

India and U.S agree on review of foreign policy,security issues

  • External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said today that the Second India-US 22 meeting undertook a comprehensive review of cross-cutting foreign policy and defence and security issues in the bilateral relationship between two countries.

  • He informed that some discussion also took place on a vision for building up a comprehensive enduring and mutually beneficial defence partnership and India welcomed US as a founding member of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). He said that a joint statement on the Second India-US 22 Meeting will be released later.

  • On rescheduling of meetings with Bangladesh ministers, the MEA spokesperson said that much should not be read into the matter.

  • He said Bangladesh has always helped India in whatever list sent about illegal immigrants. On Pakistan, Mr Raveesh Kumar said, they should look inward, not meddle into affairs of other countries.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

India successfully test fires upgraded version of Pinaka guided missile system

  • India had successfully test-fired two missiles from Chandipur in Odisha yesterday. The upgraded version of Pinaka guided rocket system was test-fired from the DRDO’s Proof and Experimental Establishment firing test range while the all-weather tracked-chassis Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QR-SAM) tested from a mobile launcher at a launch complex of the Integrated Test Range.

  • AIR correspondent reports that the indigenously developed Pinaka and QR-SAM weapon system test achieved the desired accuracy by hitting the intended target with a high degree of precision and met all mission objectives.

  • Pinaka system has a maximum range of 75 km for Mark-II variant and can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in less than 45 seconds.

  • QR-SAM system can also engage multiple targets within a range of around 25 to 30 km with two vehicle configurations for area air defence.

  • The specificity of QR-SAM missile is that it intended to defend Army formations operating in plains and semi-desert areas, including those enemy missiles that suddenly appear at close range. The successful test of missiles will boost India to strengthen its security position.

::SPORTS::

Khelo India games to be held as per schedule

  • The third edition of the Khelo India Games will be held in Guwahati as per schedule from 10th of next month.

  • Senior Assam government officials said that all preparations are being taken to make the event successful. Over 10 thousand players and officials are expected to take part in the event that will be held at different venues in Guwahati.

  • The representatives of the participating teams are inspecting the venues and infrastructure of the games today.

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