Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 August 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 August 2019


UN team alleges Human rights violation in Kashmir

  • The information blackout in Kashmir amounted to a collective punishment for the people of the region, experts of the United Nations Human Rights Council said on Thursday.

  • In a statement, they said the communication lockdown and denial of fundamental rights to the Kashmiri people violated fundamental rights.

  • “The shutdown of Internet and telecommunication networks, without justification from the government, is inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality. The blackout is a form of collective punishment for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence,” they said.

  • They declared that they had received information about an increase in the arrest of political figures, journalists, human rights activists, and protesters. They were worried about reports of night raids in private homes and arrest of young people.

  • The experts alleged that live ammunition was being used on protesters in Kashmir and that amounted to the violation of the fundamental right to life.

  • David Kaye, Michel Forst, Bernard Duhaime, Clement NyaletsossiVoule and Agnes Callamard were the experts and rapporteurs who were part of the group from the Human Rights Council.

Centre claims nearly 40 lakh people have benefitted from Ayushman Bharat scheme

  • More than 39 lakh people have availed cashless treatment worth over six thousand crore rupees for serious illnesses since the launch of Ayushman Bharat -PradhanMantri Jan AarogyaYojana, AB-PMJAY.

  • This has resulted in savings of over 12 thousand crore rupees to the beneficiary families. Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan today stated this while reviewing the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme at a high-level meeting.

  • Dr Vardhan also launched the newly designed grievance management portal of AB-PMJAY. This is an online system to help members of the general public to register their grievances and get assistance. The Minister said, 23rd September will be celebrated as Ayushman Bharat Diwas.

  • He said, the fortnight of 15th to 30th September will be marked as the Ayushman Bharat Pakhwara where several activities will be carried out in the States to generate awareness about the scheme.

  • A mega national event GyanSangam will also be organised from 29th to 30th September in New Delhi to highlight the progress and achievements of AB-PMJAY.


Centre extends tax holidays to start ups under IT act

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Thursday clarified that start-ups with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 25 crore will continue to get a tax holiday as specified in the Income Tax Act.

  • The clarification comes in the wake of considerable confusion in the industry following a circular in February by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) that defined start-ups as having a turnover of up to Rs. 100 crore.

  • This led many to believe that the tax holiday would also apply to companies with a turnover of that amount. “All the start-ups recognised by the DPIIT which fulfil the conditions specified in the DPIIT notification do not automatically become eligible for the deduction under Section 80-IAC of the I-T Act,” the CBDT clarification said.

  • According to Section 80-IAC of the Income Tax Act, eligible start-ups would be granted a tax deduction equal to 100% of the profits for three consecutive assessment years, out of the first seven years from the date of incorporation of the company.

  • “CBDT disproved the confusion created by some news report claiming discrepancy that I-T law was yet to reflect DPIIT’s higher turnover threshold of Rs. 100 crore,” the clarification said.

India urges WTO members to take up reforms

  • Commerce and Industry Minister PiyushGoyal today said that all member countries must take up reforms of the World Trade Organisation and not deal with issues in a piecemeal manner.

  • He was speaking at an international dialogue on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in New Delhi. He said, all member countries of the WTO must re-engage to ensure that the rule-based, transparent, and non-discriminatory governance that free-trade requires is taken forward honestly.

  • Mr Goyal said, the policies of protectionism being followed by some countries in the developed world are affecting engagement between countries for trade in goods, services and protection of investments. He said, India is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Mr Goyal said, South-South and Triangular Cooperation will help the developed world become a part of the developing world’s growth agenda. South-South cooperation is a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains.

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India-France to cooperate on counter terrorism and security

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron last night. The two leaders, first held one-on-one meeting which was followed by the delegation-level talks at Chateau de Chantilly, about 50 kms north of Paris.

  • Addressing a joint press conference with French President, Prime Minister Modi said the relationship between India and France is not based on any selfishness, but on solid ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. He said, India and France stand firm together to meet the challenges of climate change, environment, and technology inclusive development.

  • He said India and France will expand cooperation in counter terrorism and security. Both leaders reaffirmed that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity. Both leaders also agreed to work for early convening of the Global Conference, proposed by India, to tackle the threat of terrorism around the world.

  • The two leaders also agreed to enhance their cooperation and launch fresh efforts to prevent and fight radicalisation, especially online radicalisation. Identifying defence industrial cooperation as one of the mainstays of the strategic partnership between India and France, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in this field.

  • The French President said that India and Pakistan should resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally and no third party should interfere or incite violence in the region. He said France will deliver first of the 36 Rafal fighter jets to India next month. Earlier, Prime Minister Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome on his arrival in Paris. He was received at the airport by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean Yves Le Drian.

Kosovo to dissolve parliament and move towards elections

  • Kosovo lawmakers voted to dissolve parliament today, paving the way for a parliamentary election after Prime Minister RamushHaradinaj resigned last month. A total of 89 deputies voted to dissolve the 120-seat parliament. An election will take place within 45 days.

  • Haradinaj resigned after being summoned for questioning by the country’s war crimes prosecutor over his role in the 1998-99 insurgency against Serbian forces when he was a commander of the guerilla Kosovo Liberation Army. He denies any wrongdoing and said he is ready to face any accusations.

  • Kosovo, with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly 10 years after NATO bombing drove Serb forces out of the country. It has been recognized by more than 110 states but not by five EU member states, Serbia and Russia.


Study on wildlife trafficking gives disappointing facts to India

  • India, with the world’s largest wild tiger population, topped in the trafficking of tigers and tiger body parts over 19 years since 2000, a new TRAFFIC analysis from Geneva has revealed.

  • The report titled ‘Skin and Bones Unresolved: An Analysis of Tiger Seizures from 2000-2018’ was the fourth in a series on tiger trade by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network headquartered in the United Kingdom.

  • The analysis said that there has been no respite for the “heavily-hunted” tiger with an estimated average of more than 120 individuals seized each year from 2000 to 2018.

  • Overall, the analysis estimated that 2,359 tigers and tiger body parts were seized during the period across 32 countries and territories globally, resulting from 1,142 seizure incidents. Around 95% of these seizures were recorded in countries that are home to tigers.

  • The study found over half (58%) of the tigers seized in Thailand and 30% in Vietnam were identified as originating from captive breeding facilities, with the largest proportion coming from a single seizure of 187 tigers in Thailand in 2016. Overall, a minimum of at least 366 tigers from known or suspected captive sources were seized over the assessed period.


PM to launch ‘Fit India Movement’ by month end

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi is set to launch "Fit India Movement" on Thursday, next week. An official statement issued today says the nation-wide campaign aims to encourage people to inculcate physical activity and sports in their everyday lives.

  • A 28 member committee headed by Sports Minister, KirenRijiju has been formed to advise the government on the movement.

  • It has 12 members from the government, including secretaries of Sports, Secondary Education, Ayush, Youth Affairs, among others. IOA President and seven NSF heads, including those of boxing, athletics, football and cycling, are also part of the committee.

  • Representatives of private bodies, including Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), ASSOCHAM India, FICCI, as well as actors ShilpaShetty and MilindSoman will also be involved.

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