Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 DECEMBER 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 DECEMBER 2018


Government to sort out issues of farming sector soon

  •  The defeat in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh has made the government go back to the drawing board over the issue of rural distress, and some measures to bolster incomes in the countryside may be announced by theL some policy intervention is imminent.

Centre gives authority to agencies for monitoring computers nation wide

  •  The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order authorising 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”
  •  The agencies are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation; National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
  •  According to the order, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
  •  The MHA gave the authorisation under 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which says that the Central government can direct any agency after it is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do so.
  •  This occurs in the “interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence.”


BSE startup platform launched to boost the start up community

  •  As part of its attempts to encourage the start-up community to move towards listing, BSE has launched a platform — ‘BSE Startups’ in collaboration with two venture capital firms —Cornerstone Ventures Investment Advisers LLP and Venture Catalysts.
  •  The strategic collaboration with the two firms would enable BSE to further incentivise start-up firms in sectors such as information technology (IT), Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS), biotechnology and life sciences, 3D printing, space technology and e-commerce, the exchange said in a statement.
  •  The platform will also help in listing of firms from hi-tech defence, drones, nano technologies, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering among other sectors. “Indian youngsters need to get involved in creating more start-ups and raise funds from other Indians using BSE Startups platform.
  •  Thousands of young hi-tech companies should come and raise funds from discerning investors on this platform helping immense wealth creation for entrepreneurs, investors and the country as well as creating millions of jobs,” said AshishkumarChauhan, MD & CEO, BSE.
  •  The platform, called Innovators Growth Platform, now has a lower lot size – ₹2 lakh from the earlier ₹10 lakh – and has also done away with the 25% cap on post-issue holding by any person individually or collectively with persons acting in concert. Further, the minimum number of allottees has been brought down from 200 to 50.

Indian pharma sector back on growth trajectory

  •  The Indian pharmaceutical industry, after facing a tough time last year, is headed for a turnaround in FY19. The sector’s year-on-year revenue growth was coming back on track, as per an EY presentation at a recent CPhI CEO Roundtable 2018.
  •  The industry, estimated at $33 billion in 2017, was facing steep headwinds on account of lower generic opportunities, rising competition, supplier consolidation and increase in regulatory alerts for Indian pharmaceutical firms, it said.
  •  In competitiveness, India ranks third. The top two are U.S. and Germany. In reputation ranking, India is sixth, while China ranks tenth.U.S., Germany and Japan fill the top slots here.
  •  The report said that in 2018, both India and China made huge strides, improving their perceptions over 2017. “This probably reflects an easing of negative news around Indian manufacturing and China’s considerable effort to improve quality,” the report said.
  •  However, they felt India’s strong innovation capabilities aided partnerships and that cost advantages would help in overcoming this problem. The cost of manufacturing formulations in India remained 30-40% lower than other comparative manufacturing hubs such as China and Eastern Europe, notwithstanding low productivity levels.
  •  India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally and caters to over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the U.S., and 25% of all medicines in the U.K.

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Volcano induced Tsunami creates havoc in Indonesia

  •  A tsunami killed at least 222 people and injured hundreds on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra following an underwater landslide believed caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, officials and media said on Sunday.
  •  Hundreds of homes and other buildings were “heavily damaged” when the tsunami struck, almost without warning, along the rim of the Sunda Strait late on Saturday, SutopoPurwoNugroho, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said.
  •  Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate to higher ground. By 10.40 a.m. GMT, the disaster agency had raised the death toll to 222 from 168, with 843 injured and 28 missing.
  •  Successive earthquakes flattened parts of the tourist island of Lombok, and a double quake-and-tsunami killed thousands on Sulawesi island. Nearly 200 people died when a Lion Air passenger plane crashed into the Java Sea in October.
  •  “Instability of the slope of an active volcano can create a rock slide that moves a large volume of water, creating local tsunami waves that can be very powerful. This is like suddenly dropping a bag of sand in a tub filled with water,” sources said.
  •  Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area once occupied by Krakatau, which was destroyed in 1883. It first appeared in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

UN seeks support of stake holders for fair elections in Bangladesh

  •  Ahead of Bangladesh’s general elections next week, the UN has expressed concerns over incidents of electoral violence and arrests of opposition members and called on all stakeholders to ensure inclusive and transparent polls.
  •  The UN also urged the security forces to ensure free and unhindered campaigning by all candidates.
  •  The UN also said that there was a need for the civil societies and electoral observers to be fully supported to play their role during the election.
  •  Rights group Human Rights Watch said that a repressive political environment in Bangladesh ahead of the national elections is undermining the credibility of the process.
  •  It said widespread electoral violence started as soon as the candidate lists were formally approved, and campaigning began.
  •  Human Rights Watch said that according to the Daily Star, as of December 17, at least 26 opposition candidates’ motorcades had been attacked, 13 opposition candidates had been injured, two had been arrested, and 875 opposition supporters had been injured, some critically.


Gurugram to monitor IOR coastline

  •  Consolidating the regional efforts with friendly nations to keep the global commons “open and accessible for all,” India on December 22 inaugurated an Information Fusion Centre - Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) which will work closely with countries in the region and will be manned by the Indian Navy.
  •  “The need for IFC-IOR stems from importance of the IOR for world trade and security. All stakeholders are equal in this maritime security and safety milestone,” Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman said at the inauguration.
  •  The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram, the single point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km long coastline.
  •  The IFC aims to bring various countries in the region and pool in best practices to jointly monitor the vast IOR which is increasingly becoming the theatre of contention between great powers apart from an increase in natural disasters and trans-national threats like piracy, terrorism and trafficking.
  •  The resident ILOs would collate information from their allocated areas of responsibility and contribute towards development of a common operational picture that would then be shared with partner countries.
  •  The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude white shipping information exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multi-national constructs. The Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN) is the first one India joined earlier this month in Italy.


Indian youngster becomes fastest Asian to circle globe

  •  Indian woman VedangiKulkarni has become the fastest Asian to cycle the globe. Hailing from a suburb of Pune, 20-year old Vedangi cycled into Kolkata in the wee hours today, completing the 29,000 kilometers' distance required to qualify as bicycling across the globe.
  •  Vedangi told news agency PTI that she spent 159 days peddling up to 300 kilometers a day in 14 countries. Starting off from Perth in July, she will now be flying back to the Australian city to complete the record by cycling a 15 kilometer distance to reach the same place from where she started.

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