Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 December 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 December 2019


Central government aims to achieve 100 HunaarHaats in 5 years

  • Government has decided to organize hundred HunarHaat across the country in the next five years. These Haat aim to provide market exposure and employment opportunities to artisans, craftsmen and traditional culinary experts.

  • Ministry of Minority Affairs said, in the coming days, HunarHaat will be organized in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Dehradun, Patna, Indore and other places.

  • The Ministry has also sanctioned 100 Hunar Hubs in different parts of the country wherein training is being provided to master artisans, craftsmen and traditional culinary experts.

  • According to the Ministry, more than two lakh 65 thousand artisans and craftsmen have been provided employment through HunarHaatin the last two years.The first HunarHaat was organized in Jaipur in August-September this year.

  • More than 200 master artisans and culinary experts including a large number of women artisans from every corner of the country participated in this HunarHaat. Afterwards, several HunarHaats were organized in the different parts of the country.

India claims to be top performer in Paris agreement

  • Environment Minister PrakashJavadekar has said, India is a top performer in Paris agreement and will achieve the carbon emission target soon.

  • Addressing media in New Delhi this afternoon, Mr Javadekar said, the emission intensity reduction target for India was 35 per cent and it has already achieved 21 per cent of it.

  • The Minister said, India's efforts to mitigate climate change and to conserve environment was appreciated at the recently held 25th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change.

  • Mr Javadekar said, no such decision was taken at the summit which was against the interests and stand of India.Hesaid, BASIC countries Brazil, South Africa, India, China and like-minded 40 developing countries were together on the issue and got benefit on the unity.

  • He said, India engaged constructively in the negotiations while protecting India’s key interests including consideration of principles of equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities CBDR-RC.

  • He said, there is a need for enhanced means of implementation, including climate finance, technology transfer at affordable costs and capacity-building support, from developed to developing countries in accordance with their obligations under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.

  • Mr Javadekar said, Prime Minister NarendraModi has increased the target for renewables from 175 Giga Watts to 450 Giga Watts at the recent UN Climate Action Summit and India is simultaneously progressing on solar, biomass and wind energy.


Centre plans to increase global trade by 8-10%

  • India must increase its share in global trade to 8-10% to become a $5 trillion economy, said minister for road transport & highways and MSMEs NitinGadkari, adding that policy-making kept in mind import substitution for local industries to grow.

  • He said India was spending Rs 7 lakh crore every year on crude oil import and the country has the potential to reduce this bill by Rs 2 lakh crore by shifting to alternative fuels including ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG and electric vehicles. Gadkari also said he will not allow driverless cars in India, which has a shortage of 2.2 million drivers.

  • Talking about the highways sector, Gadkari said projects worth Rs 15 lakh crore will be awarded in five years of the government’s second term. ““By March 2020, we will have awarded projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore and next year (FY21) we will award projects worth Rs 3 lakh crore, and Rs 5 lakh crore in the following year (FY22),” he said.

  • Gadkari also said, “Without strengthening agriculture, tribal and backward areas, purchasing power will not increase, without which investment will not come. Without investments, employment potential will not increase.”

IMF says Indian economy less likely to see recovery soon

  • India's economy may not see recovery any time soon going by high-frequency indicators, International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath said while advocating “important reforms” for land acquisition and labour laws to get its manufacturing going and becoming part of the global value chain.

  • Gopinath also wanted India to pursue fiscal consolidation path with consolidated fiscal deficit of state and Centre being the highest in the G-20.

  • She pointed out that after witnessing a sharp weakness in investment, the country is seeing weakness in consumption growth. She said the IMF will be revising the numbers again in January when it puts out an update.

  • Gopinath said India will need to pursue the clean-up of the banking sector as also take steps to boost rural incomes while focussing on macroeconomic stability.

  • Pointing at the continued stress in nonbanking finance companies and slow transmission of policy cuts, Gopinath also stressed the need to fix problems on the financing side and for creating a positive sentiment towards investment.

  • Gopinath said another set of big reforms are required to get manufacturing on the ground and for India to have bigger presence on the export front. There are important reforms needed with respect to land acquisition and labour laws.

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India holds meeting with stakeholders on implementation of Chabahar agreement

  • The second meeting between officials of India, Afghanistan and Iran took place in New Delhi yesterday to monitor implementation of the 2016 agreement regarding development and management of the Chabahar port in Iran.

  • External Affairs Ministry said that the three countries welcomed steady progress in port operations by India Ports Global Ltd company since the taking over of the port operations at ShaheedBeheshti Port at Chabahar in December 2018.

  • The second meeting of the "follow-up committee" took place at the level of "joint secretary/director general" in New Delhi.

  • The MEA said that it was agreed to finalise the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs and consular matters. It was also agreed to organise promotional and business events in Afghanistan and India to popularise the Chabahar port.

  • It was recognized that over five lakh tons of cargo has been handled successfully. This includes exports from Afghanistan through Chabahar Port which began in February this year.

  • The third meeting of the "follow-up committee" will take place in the first half of 2020.

Ethiopia launches its first satellite

  • Ethiopia launched its first satellite today, a landmark achievement for the country's space program that caps a banner year for the African space industry.

  • The launch of the Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS) took place at a space station in China. The live broadcast was watched by a group of Ethiopian and Chinese officials and scientists who had gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre outside the capital, Addis Ababa.

  • Deputy Prime Minister DemekeMekonnen said, this would be a foundation for their historic journey to prosperity. He said, this technological infrastructure was important even if delayed.

  • According to TemidayoOniosun, managing director of Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programs, this was the eighth launch of an African satellite this year, topping the previous record of seven in 2017.

  • The launch makes Ethiopia the eleventh African country to put a satellite into space. Egypt was the first in 1998.

  • Data provided by Ethiopia's satellite is expected to paint a fuller picture of the country's agriculture, forestry and mining resources and improve responses to flooding and other disasters.


Study finds transmission of chicken pox virus from mother to child

  • The study of DBT and NII have found that women having chickenpox infection may transmit their infection to babies during their pregnancy. This stimulates babies’ immunity and protects them. A person being infected by the virus and treated gains immunity lifelong.

  • This immunity is transferred to babies during pregnancy. Also, if a mother was vaccinated in her childhood, she is said to be immune to the disease. Research says that this immunity is transferred to the child as well.

  • The researchers of National Institute of Immunology (NII) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) found that the transfer of viral DNA from mother to child during their pregnancy is long lasting.

  • Currently, it is understood that mothers transfer several antibodies to babies that lasts for 12 to 15 months. However, the new study says that this scenario is different in case of chickenpox. The study also showed that reactivation of chickenpox can be induced by stress of pregnancy.

  • It is a highly contagious disease caused by Varicella Zoster Virus. According to WHO, around 140 million people are affected by the disease all over the world annually. In developed countries, incidence of the disease is 16 cases per 1000 people. Out of these, 90% of the cases are reported in children.


India bags gold in Qatar international weightlifting championship

  • Former world champion, weightlifter SaikhomMirabaiChanu won the women's 49kg category gold medal to open India's account at the 6th Qatar International Cup in Doha yesterday.

  • Chanu bagged gold with an effort of 194kg in the Olympic qualifying event, with the points which will come in handy when the final rankings for Tokyo 2020 cut are done. The 24-year-old Manipuri lifted 83kg in snatch and 111kg in clean and jerk to finish on top of the podium.

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