Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 FEBRUARY 2019


NITI Aayog organises workshop on promotion of healthy diets through local food system

  •  With an aim to improve nutritional choices and enhance dietary diversity of India, the NITI Aayog, in collaboration with National Centre of Excellence and Advanced Research on Diets (NCEAR-D), UNICEF India and Lady Irwin College, organised a National Workshop on “Promoting Healthy Diets Through Local Food Systems”.
  •  Envisaging a convergence between the Aspirational Districts programme and POSHAN Abhiyaan, the workshop seeks to design institutional collaborations between academia and State Governments across these districts.
  •  Under the aegis of POSHAN Abhiyaan, promoting consumption and household/community production of locally available nutritionally rich food resources has been a priority concern.
  •  The academic institutions will serve as resource centres and Nutrition Support Units to the Districts and State administration for technical, training, concurrent monitoring support to achieve the goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  •  The Aspirational Districts Dietary fact sheets were released during the Workshop which will help both academicians and policy makers in examining the gaps in the daily diets of children and mothers of reproductive age group in terms of recommended dietary intake.
  •  The workshop provided a platform to reach a common understanding of diet diversity problems in Aspirational Districts across India and learn from national and international examples where nutrition academia and state governments have collaborated. Academic institutions were also encouraged to frame scientific methodologies and prepare achievable action plans with clearly defined indicators.

India seeks global support to act against terrorism

  •  Sponsors of terrorism and safe havens for terrorists should face all possible pressure from the international community, said Prime Minister NarendraModi on Wednesday, welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during his visit to India.
  •  Addressing a press conference, the visiting dignitary said his country will share intelligence with India and other countries willing to fight terrorism.
  •  Responding to India’s position on Pakistan, the Saudi side said it will support India’s security needs. “We will share intelligence with India and other countries to prevent terrorism,” said Mohammed Bin Salman, even though he did not mention cross-border terrorism from Pakistan during his press conference.
  •  The joint statement urged for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and pitched for “comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the UN.”
  •  Both sides also resolved to create a “Comprehensive Security Dialogue” consisting of National Security Advisers and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism. Both sides also launched a Strategic Partnership Council that will be led by the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince
  •  Mr.Modi described Saudi Arabia as one of India’s most valuable strategic partners.


Centre clears recapitalisation package for PSB’s

  •  The government has approved the disbursal of a recapitalisation package of Rs. 48,239 crore for 12 public sector banks, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar announced on Wednesday.
  •  He said that this package had a fourfold objective: (i) bringing the better-performing banks currently in the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) category out of it, (ii) helping those that have recently come out of PCA to stay out of it, (iii) equipping non-PCA banks to meet regulatory requirements, and (iv) helping the remaining PCA banks to meet their requirements as well.
  •  Towards this, a total of Rs. 15,982 crore is to be disbursed to Allahabad Bank and Corporation Bank, both of which fall within the first objective. Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra, which recently exited the PCA category, are to receive a total of Rs. 4,843 crore. The bulk of this (Rs. 4,638 crore) is allocated for Bank of India.
  •  These banks are Central Bank, United Bank, UCO Bank, and Indian Overseas Bank. “It should be taken as a supplement to the earlier package of recapitalisation, which was much bigger,” D.K. Srivastava, chief policy advisor, EY India, said.
  •  “We need to also take this in the context of growth picking up. Usually, when growth starts to become better, then those NPAs which have an economic reason behind them automatically get out of their NPA status. So, given that growth is improving and that this is a supplementary amount, it may be considered a timely intervention.”

HRD ministry launches operation digital board platform

  •  The Minister of Human Resource Development, ShriPrakashJavadekar launched Operation Digital Board to leverage technology in order to boost quality education in the country.
  •  Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today, the Minister of Human Resource Development said that Operation Digital Board is a revolutionary step which will make the learning as well as the teaching process interactive and popularize flipped learning as a pedagogical approach.
  •  He further said that ODB aims at converting a class room into a digital class room and in addition to availability of e-resources at any time and at any place to students, it will also help in provisioning of personalised adaptive learning as well as Intelligent Tutoring by exploiting emerging technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics.
  •  ShriJavadekar also stated that the launching of e-Pathshala, DIKSHA, NROER,NPTEL, e-pgpathshala SWAYAM and SWAYAM-Prabha DTH Channels etc. by MHRD have provided adequate content of high quality which can be taken to every classroom, and thereby facilitating blended learning and flip class learning.
  •  These pedagogical interventions can adequately raise the standards of teaching, irrespective of the location of the Schools and Colleges/Institutes. Such technology enabled learning can also inspire teachers across the country to raise their own standards of teaching.
  •  UGC will be the implementing agency for ODB in HEIs. UGC in its Commission meeting held on 29th Jan 2019, has passed a resolution for extending digital education to every classroom in the country by 2022.

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India – Saudi discuss bilateral issues, Saudi releases Indian prisoners

  •  Prime Minister Modi and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz held delegation level talks at Hyderabad House on February 20, 2019. External Affairs Minister Smt. SushmaSwaraj called on His Royal Highness.
  •  India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties. Close geographical proximity, civilizational links, cultural affinity, natural synergies, vibrant people to people contacts. Common challenges and opportunities have added momentum to this robust engagement
  •  The bilateral discussions were held in the spirit of strong friendship that binds the two countries and their leaders. They expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation, which are marked by trust, mutual understanding, goodwill and respect for each other’s interests.
  •  Both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in diverse fields including trade, energy, security and cultural spheres since the landmark visit of the Prime Minister to Riyadh in April 2016,a visit which served to enhance our engagement and take our relations to the next level.
  •  Meanwhile The Crown Prince ofSaudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has ordered the releaseof 850 Indian prisoners lodged in Saudi jails at the request of Prime MinisterNarendraModi.
  •  The External Affairs Ministry said, the Saudi Crown Prince hasalso announced the increase in quota for Indian Haj pilgrims to 200,000.

U.S set to create new space force

  •  US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to establish its Space Force as a new armed service within the Department of Air Force.
  •  As per the memorandum signed by Trump in his Oval Office on Tuesday, the Space Force will include both combat and combat support functions to enable prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations in all domains.
  •  It said, the force will be organized, trained, and equipped to meet and protect the US national interests in the space, consistent with international laws.
  •  Mr Trump described the unique force as the future of US forces and a very big part of its defence system. He said, it will organize and train the next generation of warriors to deter aggression and defend the United States.


Aero India 2019 exhibition inaugurated

  •  Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman rolled out a red carpet of opportunities in local defence and aerospace manufacturing to global investors as she launched Aero India 2019 here on Wednesday.
  •  As the 12th edition of the biennial international military and civil expo and air show opened at the Air Force Station Yelahanka, the gathering and airmen showered tributes to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was killed during a rehearsal on Tuesday.
  •  “Aero India 2019 endeavours to put India as the global runway of a billion opportunities,” Ms.Sitharaman told a gathering of a few thousand invitees. Ministers, heads of global defence aerospace companies, corporate and government policymakers, military brass, entrepreneurs, delegates and exhibitors from across the world were at the event.
  •  Three IAF fighter jets and a Rafale aircraft paid an aerial tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was killed in a midair mishap during a rehearsal on Tuesday.
  •  The Indian jets Tejas, Sukhoi Su-30MKI and Jaguar flew past in a formation called Missing Man. The pilot of a French Rafale fighter in a flying demonstration made a sombre flypast for the killed airman.
  •  Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) did a jaw dropping vertical climb called the Charlie in memory of the late AtalBihari Vajpayee.


Sports minister to inaugurate shooting world cup in New delhi

  •  Sports Minister RajyavardhanRathore will inaugurate the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup in New Delhi today. Various events in the world cup will start from February 23rd and end on the 27th.
  •  The ISSF World Cup is crucial for Indian shooting as it has 16 quotas up for grabs for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification. Hosts India is fielding a 23-member squad with 11 shooters in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score category.

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