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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
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
- 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
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