Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 may 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 may 2019


Vice president calls for people centric sustainable development

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for achieving sustainable development that is equitable and people-centred and stressed the need for efficient and frugal use of natural resources.

  • Inaugurating the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) celebrations, in Chennai today, the Vice President said Biodiversity is fundamental to the survival of the human race and said that man must re-establish the link with nature, as did the ancients in India centuries ago, and take from earth and the environment only so much “as we can replenish”.

  • Lamenting that the symbiotic relationship of man with nature was being threatened as societies develop, the Vice President warned that any damage to environment would put the well-being of future generations in peril. He also pointed out that the current consumption patterns especially in the industrialized world are unsustainable as they put enormous pressure on natural resources.

  • The Vice President also spoke of the need to secure international cooperation in fields ranging from sustainable agriculture and food security to health and sustainable development to urban resilience and adaptation, to climate change and disaster risk reduction.

  • The Vice President also pointed out that India had a long cultural tradition of frugality and simple living in harmony with nature and that all great religions which have traversed in our country have preached the unity of humankind with nature. He also stressed the need for inclusive growth and achieving home-grown food security, while ensuring sustainable development.

  • Shri Naidu expressed deep concern regarding the homogenization of food habits and increased dependence on a handful of crops, resulting in a rapid decline of agro-biodiversity.

Centre to finalise estimate of groundwater reserves

  • The Union Water Ministry is finalising an updated estimate on the state of groundwater reserves in the country.

  • The groundwater assessment, last done in 2013, is a survey that samples a sliver of blocks in each State and counts how many blocks have critically low levels of water and how many are well-stocked.

  • “We have received reports from most States and have passed it on to the Water Resources Ministry for approval. I expect that this will only be made public after the new government comes in,” a senior official from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) told .

  • The person said “some States” showed a precipitous decline whereas some blocks showed an “improvement.”An assessment from Punjab, the official said, pointed to “extreme” overexploitation of groundwater.

  • The share of other resources, such as canal seepage, return flow from irrigation, recharge from tanks, ponds and water conservation structures taken together is 32%.

  • The national per capita annual availability of water has reduced from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metres in 2011 a reduction of 15%.

  • That India’s groundwater has been depleting at a worrying rate since 1995, the CGWB has shown.In 1995, only 3% of districts had overexploited their groundwater reserves whereas by 2011, that had increased to 15%.


Investors worried about crisis in NBFC sector

  • The current liquidity crisis in the non-banking financial companies’ (NBFCs) sector may not pose a systemic risk for now but investors are worried over its potential impact on the overall growth of the economy in the near term, say market participants.

  • The recent past had seen brokerages highlighting concerns in the NBFC segment and their impact on the overall consumption story thereby affecting macroeconomic growth even as many such NBFCs are facing rating downgrades and tighter access to liquidity.

  • According to the global financial major, large NBFCs with strong parents and track records are better positioned while small NBFCs could lose market share, with a sharper slowdown for mid-sized and small housing finance companies (HFCs).

  • Incidentally, in a statement issued to the stock exchanges, Dewan Housing Finance Ltd. (DHFL) said that it had stopped the acceptance and renewal of fixed deposits (FDs) due to the recent downgrade of the credit rating of its FDs.

  • The revised rating is below the minimum rating prescribed under the National Housing Bank (NHB) norms for the acceptance or reneweal of FDs, according to the statement.

  • The cascading impact of a slowdown in NBFC financing can be further gauged from the fact that recently Nomura also lowered its weightage on the automobile sector attributing it, among other reasons, to “slowdown in consumer financing due to the NBFC crisis.”

Securities appellate tribunal gives partial relief to NSE

  • The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has given a partial relief to the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in the co-location matter by directing the bourse to transfer Rs. 625 crore to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) within two weeks.

  • While hearing the appeal filed by the exchange, the tribunal on Wednesday said that the amount would be kept in an interest bearing account till the matter was disposed while giving the capital market watchdog six weeks’ time to file its reply. This would come as a partial relief to the exchange, which was ordered to disgorge a total of nearly Rs. 1,100 crore for its alleged failure to exercise proper due diligence while offering co-location facility thereby affecting market fairness and integrity.

  • On April 30, the SEBI barred the NSE, which has the largest market share in the equity segment and almost a monopoly in equity derivatives, from accessing the securities market for six months.

  • The regulator further ordered the exchange to disgorge about Rs. 1,100 crore, which included the alleged profit of Rs. 625 crore from the co-location operations along with 12% p.a. interest from April 2014.

  • “ NSE has committed a fraudulent and unfair trade practice as contemplated under the SEBI (PFUTP) Regulations, I find that it is established beyond doubt that NSE has not exercised the requisite due diligence while putting in place the tick-by-tick architecture,” the SEBI had said.

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Srilanka extends emergency in country by a month

  • Sri Lanka has extended by another month the emergency regulations, which were enforced after the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

  • President MaithripalaSirisena issued an extraordinary gazette notice today extending the emergency regulations which was imposed a month ago after suicide blasts at multiple locations in the country which killed over 250 people including 45 foreigners.

  • The emergency provisions give the military sweeping powers to act against fundamentalist organizations behind the attacks, which was claimed by Islamic state.

  • Meanwhile, Prime Minister RanilWickremsinghe has said his government will establish a new public school system within next two years that is not based on language or religion. He said that all religious educational institutes will be regulated by education ministry.

  • It was also decided to regulate madarsas by Muslim institute regulation board under education ministry. The government has sought to control the madarsas after the attacks and prohibited foreign nationals from religious preaching.

  • AIR correspondent reports that emergency provisions was imposed to allow armed forces for search operations and arrest of suspects which is still continuing. Around ninety people are under arrest including close relatives of suicide bombers who were involved in the attacks.

  • Prime Minister RanilWickremsinghe said all religious institutions including madarsas will be brought under education ministry. Religious education in madarsas is believed to be one of the reasons behind fundamentalism which terrorist organizations like Islamic state use as their source of recruitment.

U.S and allies calls for agreement with Sudani protesters

  • The United States, Britain and Norway have called for a swift agreement between Sudanese protesters and generals on installing civilian rule.

  • According to a joint statement released last night, they said, it would be harder for them to work with any other new authority.

  • Talks between protest leaders and army generals who seized power after ousting longtime leader Omar al-Bashir last month have stopped since late Monday following disagreement about who should lead a new ruling body a civilian or a soldier.

  • Meanwhile, Sudanese protest leaders are now preparing plans to call for a general strike to build pressure on the generals to cede power.

  • The ruling military council has been pushing for its chairman General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to head the new sovereign body but protest leaders want a civilian.


ISRO launches IRSAT 2B satellite

  • In a predawn launch on Wednesday, a PSLV rocket of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) placed RISAT-2B, an X-band microwave Earth observation satellite, into orbit 556 km above earth.

  • The PSLV-C46 launcher carrying the 615-kg RISAT-2B blasted off at 5.30 a.m. About 15 minutes later, the satellite reached its designated position and started orbiting in space, with an inclination of 37°.

  • Designed at ISRO’s U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) in Bengaluru and fast-tracked in just 15 months, the RISAT-2B is built to operate for at least five years

  • Data from the satellite would be vital for the Armed Forces, agriculture forecasters and disaster relief agencies.

  • Its X-band synthetic aperture radar can give added details such as the size of objects on earth, structures and movement.

  • Information from RISAT-2B will complement data from normal optical remote sensing satellites. Such data are useful for agencies that need ground images during cloud, rain and in the dark.

  • This is the third Indian RISAT in 10 years, and follows the Israeli-built RISAT-2 in 2009 and the ISRO-built RISAT-1 in 2012. The older RISATs have reached the end of their lives.


India advances to third round of archery worldcup

  • In Archery World Cup Stage III, four Indians including DeepikaKumari and TarundeepRai advanced to the third round in recurve individual section at Antalya in Turkey today.

  • In Women's individual section, former world No 1 Deepika defeated KhatunaLorig 6-5 in the second round and set up a clash against VeronikaMarchenko of Ukraine in the third round.

  • In men's individual section, former Olympian TarundeepRai remained in the medal fray after beating Gasper Strajhar of Slovenia.

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