Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 APRIL 2019
Vice President stresses need for world class higher educational institutions
- The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that a
world-class higher education system was the need of the hour, he said that
India’s quest for development would remain unfulfilled if we fail to create
opportunities for quality higher education till the last mile.
- Shri Naidu said that we have tremendous talent amongst us and we cannot
afford to let this talent lie dormant due to lack of avenues for quality
education, especially higher education and skill training. He called for
putting vulnerable sections of our population, the women, the differently-abled
and the economically weak at the center of our strategy to expand higher
- Observing that rapid industrialization and economic growth would create
opportunities for around 250 million skilled workforces by 2030, Shri Naidu
asserted that India would emerge as the global supplier of skilled manpower
in the coming years.
- The Vice President said that despite the progress made from the time of
Independence, higher education system in India still suffers from a number
of lacunae ranging from inadequate enrolment to quality issues to lack of
equity and insufficient infrastructure.
- Saying that advanced research was the way forward for India’s higher
education, Shri Naidu called upon colleges and universities to equip their
institutions with latest technologies and re-invent the teaching
IMA threatens protests over bridge course proposal
- The allopathic practitioners are up in arms over the NITI Aayog’s
proposal to bring in a bridge course between the Bachelor of Dental Surgery
(BDS) and the MBBS allowing dentists to practise family medicine with the
Indian Medical Association (IMA) threatening nationwide agitation, in case
the proposal is taken forward.
- The Central government noted that it was “trying to plug the shortage of
doctors using the fact that the dental courses follow the same training and
curriculum as the MBBS courses for the first three years.”
- The NITI Aayog had earlier proposed a bridge course for Ayush (Ayurveda,
Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) doctors in the National
Medical Commission Bill meant to replace the Indian Medical Council Act.
Following pressure from the IMA, the course was rejected.
- “It is a criminal offence to let dentists into mainstream medicine by
just doing a bridge course,” said IMA president Dr.Santanu Sen. “The
government is not able to generate jobs for medical graduates. 63,250 MBBS
graduates come out of 494 medical colleges and we have only 23,729
post-graduate seats. Unemployment among medical graduates is a cause for
concern, then how can government say that they will give jobs to dentists,”
- Dr. R.V. Asokan, honorary secretary general of the IMA, said, MBBS
graduates were not being absorbed into post-graduate courses. “The IMA
demands that medical graduates be given their due, the health budget be
flexed to include job creation and the government abandon their half-baked
proposal to convert dentists, nurses, pharmacists and Ayush practitioners
into mid-level medical practitioners. The IMA is left with no choice but to
initiate a nation-wide protest against the move,” he said
Aadhar card chief architect embraces role of technology in financial
- The Aadhaar has worked as a digital infrastructure backbone helping
governments in India to roll out several real-time initiatives and service
delivery capabilities for citizens and enterprises alike, said
NandanNilekani, chief architect of Aadhaar and co-founder and chairman,
- The Aadhaar, serving as an electronic know-your-customer (KYC) tool, has
triggered massive customer additions in the country’s financial and telecom
sectors and similar explosive growth is expected across other segments as
well in the years to come, said Mr.Nilekani at FICCI’s National Executive
Committee Meeting here on Monday.
- Earlier, KYC used to be a cumbersome process, and therefore, opening a
bank account or getting a new phone connection used to be a tough affair.
Also, with digital signature becoming a reality, identity verification and
other credential checks are now being done real-time and as a result, banks
are able to sanction loans in hours.”
- The country already has over a billion bank accounts that are Aadhaar
number linked. It makes transferring of funds easier and the country
conducts over four billions financial transactions. In addition, Aadhaar
based e-KYC made LPG subsidies, MNREGA payments, farmer subsidies and
pensions corruption-free and seamless. For all these, the underlying
technology is Aadhaar, Mr.Nilekani added.
- On the benefits of technology for business, he said, the Goods and
Services Tax has increased the number of taxpayers. “GSTN is a great example
of technology-led co-operative federalism.”
Domestic aviation growth comes to halt post collapse of Airlines
- On the back of Jet Airways’ collapse as well as the grounding of Boeing
737 MAX planes in the country, the growth in domestic aviation traffic was
flat in March.
- Indian airlines altogether flew 115.96 lakh passengers last month, a
mere 16,000 more than the year-ago period, according to DGCA’s monthly data.
- India’s domestic air traffic rise had been leading global trends and had
recorded double-digit growth since mid-2014. But since the end of 2018, this
growth rate has tapered to less than 1%.
- Jet Airways, which announced a temporary suspension of flight operations
last week, saw its market share decline to 4.6% in March when it was
operating with depleted fleet size after lessors grounded several planes
because of non-payment of rentals.
- The airline’s market share same time last year was at 14.2%. The airline
flew a mere 5.37 lakh passengers last month.
- As a result of cancellations by Jet Airways, flight related problems
accounted for 60% of passenger grievances.As many as 4,73,864 passengers
were affected due to delays, cancellations and denied boarding.
U.S secretary warns countries trading with Iran
- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday warned nations against
interacting with Iran in violation of the sanctions. “Any nation or entity
interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of
caution. The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits,” Mr.Pompeo
- Earlier in April, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), had said
that India and the U.S. were “continually engaged” on the issue of India’s
oil imports from Iran since sanctions kicked in last November, The Hindu had
- U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
SigalMandelkar had visited New Delhi in early April to discuss the issue.
- That an announcement of this nature was imminent, was first reported by
the Washington Post on Sunday. The price of global benchmark brent crude hit
a six-month intraday high on Monday.
- Oil exports from Iran hit a low of 1.0 to 1.0 million bpd in March this
year down from 2.5 million bpd in April 2018. The U.S. announced that it
would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or “ Iran
deal” in May.
- The U.S. has tried to allay fears that oil markets will be impacted
following the decision to stop exemptions. Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC), the global oil cartel led by Saudi Arabia, has
been coordinating with Russia to cut oil supply since January.
- “Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow
difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil,” U.S. President Donald
Trump tweeted on Monday.
India to sort out differences with China,to list AzharMasood in 1267
- India on Monday signalled its urgency to resolve differences with China
on listing MasoodAzhar as a global terrorist.
- In his opening remarks during “bilateral consultations”, visiting
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday, said
India and China should remain “sensitive to each other’s concerns”.
- During talks with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi,
Mr.Gokhale stressed that India “will work together with the Chinese side to
deepen mutual understanding, strengthen mutual trust to implement the
decisions taken by our leaders and do it in a manner where we are sensitive
to each other’s concerns”.
- Azhar’s designation was highlighted across the globe when China placed a
“technical hold” on listing the head of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed
(JeM) as a global terrorist, following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack
in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
- Last week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the Azhar issue “is moving
towards the direction of settlement” in the 1267 Committee of the Security
Council. Since April 1, China has been saying a consensus was emerging
within the 1267 Committee on designating Azhar, after rejecting a parallel
initiative by the U.S., backed by Britain and France, to seek a ban on him
through a separate resolution in the Security Council plenary.
- Chinese officials had conveyed to their Indian counterparts their fears
that in case the JeM head is proscribed, India will seek labelling of
Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, which Beijing roundly rejects.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Expert panel claims $100billion a year would be the cost of saving diversity
- Saving the diversity and abundance of life on the earth may cost
$100 billion a year, say scientists who have proposed a policy to prevent
another mass extinction event on the planet.
- There have been five mass extinctions in the history of the earth.
Scientists now estimate that society must urgently come to grips this coming
decade to stop the very first human-made biodiversity catastrophe.
- Mr.Asner is one of 19 international authors with a bold new
science policy proposal to reverse the tide, called “A Global Deal for
Nature” (GDN). The policy’s mission is to save the diversity and abundance
of life on the earth for the price tag of $100 billion a year.
- Societal investment in the GDN plan would, for the first time,
integrate and implement climate and nature deals on a global scale to avoid
human upheaval and biodiversity loss.
- While the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement was the first major accord
to take global action toward climate change policies, the international team
of GDN scientists believe a similar companion pact is desperately needed to
implement the very first global nature conservation plan to meet these
- The study, published in Science Advances , outlines the guiding
principles, milestones and targets needed to avoid the extinction threats of
a two degrees Celsius warming forecast.
- The three overarching goals of the GDN are to protect biodiversity
by conserving at least 30% of the earth’s surface by 2030; mitigate climate
change by conserving the earth’s natural carbon storehouses; and reduce
major threats. The essence of implementing the plan is to set up protected
areas of land as natural ecosystems.
Indian hopes high at Asian Badminton championship
- The Badminton Asia Championships began at Wuhan in China today.
The Indian contingent comprises PV Sindhu and SainaNehwal in Women's
Singles, and KidambiSrikanth and Sameer Verma in Men's Singles.
- Indian shuttlers will also be seen in action in the Doubles
categories. India will be looking to end its 54-year-old title jinx at the
Championships. It was Dinesh Khanna who had become the Men's Singles
champion in 1965. Last year, Saina and HS Prannoy had won bronze medals.
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