Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 November 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 November 2019


Govt.plans to reduce carbon emission intensity by 35%

  • Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change PrakashJavadekar today stressed the need to work daily to fight the menace of air pollution.
  • Replying to the discussion in LokSabha on air pollution and climate change, Mr Javadekar said, the government has clamped down coal-based thermal power plants to check air pollution. He said pollution is being monitored in 355 cities.
  • Mr Javadekar said government has made city specific plans.The Minister said, eighty per cent vehicular emissions reduction was registered after the adoption of BS-IV fuel standards in heavy-duty diesel vehicles.
  • Saying planting saplings can be a good initiative, the Minister suggested that every citizen should plant at least seven trees.The Minister informed that the Central Government has notified a Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi and NCR for different levels of pollution.
  • Mr Javadekar informed the House that India has already reduced its carbon emissions intensity by 22 per cent, and now the target is to go beyond 35 per cent.
  • The Minister said a number of initiatives have been taken for the abatement and control of air pollution including, operationalization of Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Western peripheral Expressway in 2018. He said, the government is ready to adopt any new technology that helps in reducing pollution.

Govt. approves setting up of plastic parks across the country

  • The government has approved setting up of six plastic parks in different parts of the country.
  • These parks will have an ecosystem with state of the art infrastructure building and enabling the common facility to consolidate and synergize the capacities of the domestic downstream plastic processing industry.
  • These parks are located in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.
  • This was stated by Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister DV SadanandaGowda in a written reply in RajyaSabhatoday.He said, out of them, the plastic park at Tamot in Madhya Pradesh is functional.
  • Under the scheme, the government provides grant funding up to 50 per cent of the project cost. The remaining project cost is to be funded by State Government beneficiary industries and by a loan from financial institutions.
  • The Minister said, four new plastic parks have also been given in-principle approval for establishment in West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.    
  • In a written reply to a question in the LokSabha, Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo informed that the environment Ministry has issued Standard Guidelines on Single-use plastics to all Ministries and States for its extensive implementation.
  • The guidelines suggest about the action to be taken by the State governments for minimization of usage of single-use plastics. He said, considering the high environmental cost associated with the management of single-use plastics, Prime Minister NarendraModi announced India’s pledge to phase it out by 2022.


Tax department launches web portal for information exchange

  • The Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), P C Mody today inaugurated the Web Portal for Exchange of Information on Income Tax Website in New Delhi today.
  • The Web Portal consolidates all the relevant Automatic Exchange of Information related information at one place for financial institutions, officers and public.
  • Finance Ministry in a statement said that the portal would not only be useful for the domestic financial institutions but will also help the foreign tax authorities and financial institutions to get information about the Indian laws, rules and procedures.
  • It said, India is committed to exchange financial account information automatically from 2017 under the Common Reporting Standard on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).

Govt. claims that over 7 crore farmers benefitted from PM-KISAN scheme

  • Over seven crore farmers have been benefited under PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.
  • Under this scheme, six thousand rupees per year are being given in three instalments to the farmers.
  • In a written reply in the RajyaSabha Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar said, from 1st December of this year, the release of benefits will be made to beneficiaries only on the basis of Aadhar authenticated data under this scheme.
  • He further said, as per the instructions of the central government, state governments have organized publicity and awareness campaign to ensure that Aadhar based authenticated data must be used to provide the benefit to the beneficiaries.
  • He informed that around over one crore 67 lakh farmers in Uttar Pradesh are benefited under the scheme which is the highest among all the all states.

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India-China to celebrate 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations

  • India and China will jointly hold 70 celebratory activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
  • External Affairs Ministry said that the year-long activities starting from 2020  will demonstrate historic connect between two civilisations as well as growing bilateral relations.
  • Prime Minister NarendraModi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to organise 70 celebratory activities in both countries during their Second Informal Summit in Chennai last month.
  • These activities will further deepen people-to-people exchanges at all levels, including between legislatures, businesses, academics, cultural and youth organisations as well as the defence forces.
  • The two sides will also engage in cooperative projects in studying ancient maritime links between India and China through various ways including the establishment of sister-state relations between Tamil Nadu and Fujian Province.
  • Activities will be held related to martial arts exchange, traditional sports, entrepreneurship, and joint post-earthquake search and rescue exercise.

U.S warns Pakistan on Chinese economic corridor project consequences

  • The United States warned Pakistan that it faced long-term economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push.
  • The top US diplomat for South Asia said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor heralded as a game-changer by both Asian countries but this would profit only Beijing and said that the United States offered a better model.  
  • Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, acting assistant secretary of state for South Asia,  Alice Wells said it needs to be clear, that CPEC is not about aid since it is driven by non-concessionary loans, with Chinese companies sending their own labor and material.
  • She said the corridor is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payments start to come due in the next four to six years.
  • While acknowledging that the United States could not come to Pakistan with offers from state-run companies, Wells said private US investment, coupled with US grants, would improve the troubled economy's fundamentals.


K-12 education transformation framework launched in India

  • Software giant Microsoft has launched its “K-12 Education Transformation Framework” to facilitate comprehensive digital transformation of schools in India.  
  • So far, this framework model has been adopted by education leaders in more than 50 countries to help plan their learning strategies.
  • It is aimed at providing education leadership, government decision makers, teachers and most importantly learners, tools to achieve ambitious change many schools seek and to thoughtfully integrate technology in powerful and productive ways.
  • It provides holistic framework to facilitate a comprehensive digital transformation of schools. It is a flexible platform based on latest research and input from hundreds of academics, experts, and policymakers. 
  • To help school principals initiate their journey of digital transformation, this framework programme offer them series of workshops based on each of the four pillars.


Indian players win gold at ISSF world championships

  • In Shooting, India's young shooters touched another sensational high with Manu Bhaker, ElavenilValarivan and DivyanshPanwar clinching gold medals in their events to give the country its best ever single-day show in the ISSF World Cup Finals in Putian, China today.
  • The 17-year-old Bhaker fired her way to the gold with a junior world record in the women's 10 metres air pistol event, while the 20-year-old Elavenil claimed the top honours in the women's 10 metres air rifle competition.
  • Later, another teen sensation Divyansh finished on top in the men's 10 metres air rifle competition.

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