Current Affairs a for IAS Exams - 23 APRIL 2019

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 education.
  • 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 methodology.

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,” he asked.
  • 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 services

  • 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, Infosys.
  • 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.

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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 said.
  • 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 reported
  • 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 committee

  • 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.


Expert panel claims $100billion a year would be the cost of saving diversity on earth

  •  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 challenges.
  •  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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