Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 JANUARY 2019
PravasiBhartiya Divas to begin today at Varanasi
- The 15th edition of PravasiBhartiya Divas begins at Varanasi in
Uttar Pradesh today. Around 6,000 NRIs are expected to take part in the
three-day event which is being organised in Varanasi for the first time. The
theme this year is, 'Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India'.
- Several world leaders of Indian origin, including Prime Minister
of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, will take part in the event and share
their insights on the theme.
- Prime Minister NarendraModi will formally inaugurate the event
tomorrow, with Mr Jugnauth being the Chief Guest. The valedictory address
and PravasiBharatiyaSamman Awards will be given by President Ram NathKovind
- Youth PravasiBhartiya Divas and Uttar Pradesh PravasiBhartiya
Divas will be held on the opening day today. Information and Broadcasting
Minister RajyavardhanRathore yesterday inaugurated several exhibitions
including a digital exhibition on the theme of 'Ek Bharat Swacch Bharat:
Sardar Patel and Gandhi keSapnoka Bharat.
Third century Buddhist remains found in Guntur
- In a discovery that has pushed back the hoary past of the historic
Kondaveedu fort to 3rd century AD, a Buddhist circular stupa and pillared
pavilion (silamandapa) datable to the Ikshvaku times, have been unearthed at
- The Kondaveedu fort was a well-fortified city and was the capital
during the reign of Reddy kings and later used by the French and the British
as a garrison.A freelance archeologistKadiyalaVenkateswaraRao had earlier
unearthed marble stones at the same site indicating the Buddhist links.
- Mr.Sivanagi Reddy said that the stupa structure which was 4.5 ft
tall with a diameter of 12.5 ft consisted of 10 layers of well-dressed
Palnadu limestone, which the Buddhists preferred.
- The bottom layer was carved with a lotus flower design
representing the mature phase of typical Amaravathi School of Art as seen at
the pedestal of the world famous Nagarjunakonda Buddha image, thus giving
clue to conclude that the stupa was built during the Ikshvaku period.
- It is also learnt that a beautiful sculptural panel depicting
animals and floral motifs in Ikshvaku idiom was also recovered from the
foundations of the stupa, along with a Brahmi label inscription (not legible
) which is now in the possession of the Department of Archaeology and
- Interestingly, the team, while inspecting the levelling work going
on at the parking area in the site, stumbled upon a beautiful limestone
pillar carved with a half lotus medallion flanked by a bunch of flowers in
the Ikshvaku art style.
NSEFI seeks rationalisation of ECB’s by RBI
- National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), a non-profit
organisation, has written to the Prime Minister’s Office requesting to
direct the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to rationalise the new ECB framework
suitably, excluding repayment of rupee loans from the negative list.
- The NSEFI apprises that till date, RBI has allowed the external
borrowing in the form of security bond/loan in U.S. dollars to replace the
Indian rupee loans having tenure of 10 years or more given by domestic
- As per this notification, erstwhile tracks I and II are merged as
‘foreign currency denominated ECB’ and track III and rupee denominated bonds
framework are combined as ‘rupee denominated ECB’ to replace the current
- However, the existing permissible end use of repayment
/refinancing of rupee loan availed under track-II of ECB has not been
considered in the merged foreign currency ECB framework in any form, NSEFI
chairman Pranav Mehta wrote.
- Otherwise, such a new framework would jeopardise the large-scale
development of wind and solar power projects in India, he wrote
- NSEFI was founded in 2013 by solar energy industry leaders with a
vision to promote solar energy.
Construction sector gets boost in GST implementation
- GST implementation was indeed a long-awaited, welcome decision by
the government which has helped construction equipment industry to align tax
rates at a single point.
- It has helped the industry by relieving them from various
procedural restrictions which existed while goods were under transit, like
waybills, transit passes and its connected returns and assessments.
- Withdrawal of various forms existing under VAT regime like Form C,
H, F etc., has helped the industry to concentrate on their core business,
resulted in reduction in manpower and/or channelising such resources to
other core areas and also mitigated the risk associated with non-receipt of
- Payment of GST for interstate stock transfer which is treated as a
sale, resulting in IGST liability, was made available as full credit in the
destination location. This has resulted in tax savings to the manufacturer.
Additionally, all tax on interstate purchase was not available as input
credit under VAT regime whereas now it is available.
- For capital equipment manufacturers, warranty issues are
invariably a commitment given to customers across all industries. Warranty
supplies are usually committed under very limited deadlines since the
equipment would have stopped working causing huge loss to the customer.
- The data of IGST paid while importing an item is available with
ICEGATE. The GST website should be automated for taking this data from
ICEGATE. This will immensely simplify reconciliation.
Aadhar card to be used instead of passport to enter Nepal & Bhutan
- Aadhaar cards are now valid travel documents for Indians under 15
and over 65 travelling to Nepal and Bhutan, according to a Home Ministry
- Indians other than those in the two age brackets will not be able
to use Aadhaar to travel to the two neighbouring countries, for which no
visas are needed, clarified the communique issued recently.
- Indian citizens going to Nepal and Bhutan don’t need a visa if
they have a valid passport, a photo identity card issued by the government
of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission, it added.
- Earlier, persons over 65 and under 15 could show their PAN card,
driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card or ration
card, but not the Aadhaar, to prove their identity and visit the two
- Giving details, the official said a certificate of registration
issued by the Embassy of India, Kathmandu, to Indian nationals is not an
acceptable travel document for travelling between India and Nepal.
- “However, the emergency certificate and identity certificate
issued by the Indian Embassy in Nepal will be valid for single journey for
travelling back to India,” he said, citing the communique.
Arab nations seek international support in Syrian refugee crisis
- Arab leaders and officials have urged the international community
to support nations hosting Syrian refugees and take steps to minimise the
impact of the refugee crisis.
- The call was made in the Beirut Declaration at the Arab Economic
and Social Development Summit that concluded in the Lebanese capital
- The declaration said, the refugee crisis in Arab countries is the
worst humanitarian problem since World War II. It points out that the crisis
leads to an economic slowdown, increases the expenditure and deficit,
imposes burdens on public sectors and infrastructure and poses risks to the
- At a press conference after the summit, Lebanese caretaker Foreign
Minister GebranBassil said, this is the first time Arab countries have
reached a consensus on encouraging Syrian refugees to return to their
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Researchers find out neuronal activity of fruit-fly brain
- Deciphering how the fruit fly brain works has been a significant
branch of study in the biological sciences for several decades now.
- In this, a team of researchers from National Centre for Biological
Sciences, Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Bengaluru (NCBS-TIFR),
have figured out the neuronal circuitry that is involved in processing
- While the neurons that sense the bitter taste have been
identified, as have the motor neurons that innervate the physical reactions
to having sensed bitter taste, the intermediate circuitry has remained
- Partly the reason for the interest in the workings of the
Drosophila (fruit fly) brain is because it is a good proxy to approach the
goal of knowing how the human brain itself works.
- The reactions of fruit fly to bitter and sweet tasting material
differ significantly. When it senses food cues, mainly sweet tasting,
through the sensory neurons in its legs, or proboscis, it extends its
proboscis for consuming the food.
- This will help understand the role of different neurons and
molecules (present in the brain) in sensory information processing and
AnkitaRaina wins ITF tournament
- India's AnkitaRaina has won the International Tennis Federation's
25,000-dollar Women's tournament in Singapore. In the Final yesterday,
Ankita defeated top seed and world number 122 ArantxaRus of the Netherlands,
6-3, 6-2. She toppled four seeded players in the tournament to win her first
title of the season and eighth overall.
- Ankita came into the tournament after competing at the Qualifiers
of the ongoing Australian Open. She will play two more tournaments before
gearing up for the Fed Cup, starting in the first week of next month at
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