Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 FEBRUARY 2019


Centre brings in plans to block its share of water to pakistan

  •  A day after Union Minister NitinGadkari said India had decided to “stop” the flow of its share of river water to Pakistan, the Water Resources Ministry on Friday issued details of various projects being implemented for the same.
  •  The Indus system comprises the rivers Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The basin is mainly shared between India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan, the Ministry said in the statement.

     Under the Indus Water Treaty signed by India and Pakistan in 1960, the waters of three rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Beas (eastern rivers) of about 33 million acre feet (MAF) were allocated to India for exclusive use.
  •  About 2 MAF of water annually from the Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan below Madhopur.
  •  Among India’s various schemes is the Shahpurkandi project that will help in utilising the water from the Thein dam to irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, and generate 206 MW of power, the statement said.
  •  Another facility is the Ujh multipurpose project that will create a storage of about 781 million cubic metre of water on river Ujh , a tributary of Ravi.The third project is the second Ravi-Beas link below Ujh, the statement said.

India denies visa to Pakistan sportsmen,country’s futureolympic hosting might get a relook

  •  India’s future as a host for sporting events remained uncertain following a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday.
  •  The issue arose when India refused visa requests from two Pakistani shooters expected to participate in the ongoing ISSF World Cup here on Saturday.
  •  In a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the IOC made it clear that all future international sporting events in India would be put on hold unless the host gave a written guarantee that there would be no discrimination on participation of athletes.
  •  The IOC decided to restrict the withdrawal of recognition as an Olympic qualification event to the 25m rapid fire pistol competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. “This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events,” the IOC noted.
  •  In IOC’s view, the Indian stand was, “against the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter, in particular the principles of non-discrimination, as well as the IOC’s and the Olympic Movement’s position, reiterated on many occasions over the past few years, that equal treatment must be guaranteed for all participating athletes and sporting delegations at international sports events, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country.”


MUDRA job card submitted by Labour bureau

  •  The Labour Bureau has completed its survey on employment generated by the MUDRA loan scheme, giving the Centre a potential data tool to combat other reports showing a dismal scenario on jobs.
  •  The PradhanMantri Mudra Yojana was introduced in April 2015 as an effort to extend affordable credit to micro and small enterprises. Loans up to Rs. 10 lakh are extended to these non-corporate, non-farm enterprises by the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) through last-mile financial institutions. So far, 15.56 crore loans worth a total of Rs. 7.23 lakh crore have been disbursed.
  •  Before stepping down as vice chairman of NitiAayog in August 2017, ArvindPanagariya, had submitted a report on the recommendations of a task force he had chaired on improving jobs data.
  •  One recommendation was to analyse the extent of employment and self-employment generated by MUDRA loans.
  •  The Labour Bureau’s completed report on MUDRA loans has now been submitted to the Centre at a time when it is taking flak for not releasing the results of the National Sample Survey Organisation’s periodic labour force survey.
  •  According to reports, a leaked copy of the NSSO’s findings showed that unemployment hit a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18.
  •  Central government ministers and officials have already attempted to use the MUDRA scheme’s performance to combat criticism based on the leaked NSSO job survey report.
  •  Some economists, however, have advised caution in the interpretation of MUDRA data, especially as it relates to jobs.

Indian to have its own Domain name server

  •  The government will soon roll out a public Domain Name Server, or DNS, for India aimed at providing a faster and more secure browsing experience for Internet users in the country, while ensuring that citizens’ data is stored locally.
  •  A DNS is a like a directory for the Internet. It helps to convert domain names that are easy for people to remember into IP addresses, which are used by computers/machines to communicate. If the DNS is either slow or fails to work, users will not be able to locate web addresses.
  •  “The main aim of bringing our own public DNS is to ensure availability, particularly for smaller Interest Service Providers (ISPs) who don’t have credible DNS. Bigger ones usually have their own DNS,” an IT Ministry official said.
  •  Pointing out that there were other open DNS servers, including Google Public DNS, the official said the government’s system would prevent users from visiting malicious websites.
  •  The roll-out, which will be executed by the National Informatics Centre the technology arm of the governmentwill be completed in the next four to six months, the official said. NIC is already using the public DNS within the government network.
  •  Asked if the move would enable the government to block content or help in surveillance, the official said, “If the government wants to block a website, we have a mechanism in place. We can send a list to the ISPs for reasons such as child porn or fake news, and they have to comply with the order.”

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Sudanese president declares year long emergency amid protests

  •  Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country.
  •  Omar al-Bashir in a televised address yesterday called on Sudan's parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.
  •  Bashir's announcement followed months of nearly daily protests against his rule, with thousands of people taking to the streets across the country since December 19 to call for him to stand down after nearly three decades in office.
  •  Omar al-Bashir's term ends in 2020 and he has repeatedly promised over the years not to make new runs for the presidency.
  •  Since December 2018, various areas in Sudan, including the capital Khartoum, have been witnessing popular protests over the deteriorating economic conditions and price hikes of basic commodities.

China to go for DNA tracking of people

  •  China wants to make the country’s Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, more subservient to the Communist Party. It has detained up to 1 million people in what China calls “re-education” camps, drawing condemnation from human rights groups and a threat of sanctions from the Trump administration.
  •  Collecting genetic material is a key part of China’s campaign, according to human rights groups and Uighur activists. They say a comprehensive DNA database could be used to chase down any Uighurs who resist conforming to the campaign.
  •  Police forces in the U.S. and elsewhere use genetic material from family members to find suspects and solve crimes. Chinese officials, who are building a broad nationwide database of DNA samples, have cited the crime-fighting benefits of China’s own genetic studies.
  •  To bolster their DNA capabilities, scientists affiliated with China’s police used equipment made by Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts company. For comparison with Uighur DNA, they also relied on genetic material from people around the world that was provided by Kenneth Kidd, a prominent Yale University geneticist.
  •  In a statement, the Xinjiang government denied that it collects DNA samples as part of the free medical check-ups. It said the DNA machines that were bought by Xinjiang officials were for “internal use”.
  •  China has for decades maintained an iron grip in Xinjiang. In recent years, it has blamed Uighurs for a series of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, including a 2013 incident in which a driver struck two people in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.


Scientists tests conversion of edible oil into Bio-ATF successfully

  •  Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum has successfully finished a pilot test to convert used cooking oil into bio-aviation turbine fuel (Bio-ATF), which can be blended with conventional ATF and used as aircraft fuel.
  •  The Institute collected used cooking oil from caterers and hotels in Dehradun for the pilot, which has now set the platform for commercial use of the technology.
  •  “The chemical composition of the used cooking oil is identical to other plant-based oils that have been converted to Bio-ATF. We have shown that Bio-ATF production is possible from used cooking oil,” said SaleemAkhtarFarooqui, a scientist at the institute.
  •  The test assumes importance as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative to collect and convert used cooking oil into bio-fuel.
  •  As many as 64 companies in 101 locations across the country have been identified for the purpose by FSSAI. The food safety body says that by 2020, it should be possible to recover about 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for conversion into bio-fuel.
  •  The CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum is looking for partners to commercialise the technology. “We cannot supply large quantities because we are a research lab. We are looking for partners to commercialise the technology,” he said


Indian cricket team to abide by government decision in boycotting match against Pakistan

  •  Indian captain ViratKohli today said, his team will respect the government's decision with regards to playing Pakistan in the 50-over World Cup beginning in May in London.
  •  There has been calls to boycott the 16th June World Cup face-off against Pakistan at Old Trafford in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. Speaking on the eve of India's opening T-20 against Australia at Visakhapatnam, Kohli said, his team's stand is simple.
  •  They will stick by what the nation wants to do and what the government and BCCI decide to do. He also offered his condolences on behalf of the entire Indian team to the families of the martyred soldiers.

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