Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 MARCH 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 MARCH 2019


Vice president urges to boost ocean and marine energy potential

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for fully tapping the enormous potential of the Blue Economy for the country to achieve higher economic growth.
  • Observing that the objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities through maritime economic activities, the Vice President wanted appropriate programs to be initiated for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources.
  • Interacting with the Scientists of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in Dona Paula, Goa today, Shri Naidu pointed out that India was meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports and urged the scientists to step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy.
  • Asking the Institute to act as a nodal centre for Blue Economy related research and technology development, Shri Naidu said there was a need to focus on ocean centric technology to harness the marine resources for sustained growth of India. Development of technologies for deep sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics for extraction of minerals should be initiated.
  • In view of global warming, resource degradation and marine pollution, we have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out, Shri Naidu said and advised CSIR-NIO to play a major role through its ocean observation studies in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.

PM urges eminent personalities to spread voter awareness

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi has urged voters across the country to turn up in large numbers to vote in the upcoming LokSabha elections.
  • In a series of tweets, MrModi said, the time has come to say, Vote Kar. He requested people to ensure that they as well as their family and friends turn out in record numbers.
  • He said, it will have a positive impact on the nation’s future. He also reached out to prominent personalities from a wide spectrum of society like Bollywood, sports and media and appealed them to urge voters to come out and vote in large numbers.
  • He said, if people are undertaking any innovative voter awareness campaign, do share details using #VoteKar and together, everyone will ensure maximum Indians exercise their franchise.
  • Meanwhile the opposition parties have started their online campaigns against the government. “The modus operandi of the govt. is to exploit the public’s gullible nature by luring them to believe in existence of new jobs even as Unemployment Hits Nation! Wish the ‘chowkidaar’ tag on Twitter came with a pay package! Stop the fake news!” tweeted a member of opposition.


NITI Aayog to organiseFintech conclave in New delhi

  • NITI Aayog is organising a day-long FinTech Conclave at Dr. Ambedkar International Center, New Delhi . The objective is to shape India’s continued ascendancy in FinTech, build the narrative for future strategy and policy efforts, and to deliberate steps for comprehensive financial inclusion.
  • The Conclave will be featuring representatives from across the financial space central ministries, regulators, bankers, startups, service providers and entrepreneurs.
  • Conclave will host more than 300 representatives from the leading Financial Institutions including HDFC Bank, IndusInd, ICICI Bank, SBI Card, Tata Capital and FinTechs including BankBazaar, PhonePe, Capital Float, Zerodha, PayTM, MobiKwik, PayU, leading venture capital investors, state governments, MSMEs and industry subject matter experts.
  • The valedictory session of the conclave shall include presentations consolidating sector-specific findings of the various breakout panels on themes such as Digital Onboarding of Customers/Merchants for Financial Inclusion, Building Financial Products for Millennial India, Emerging Areas of FinTech, Fast Tracking Investments in FinTech Industry and Financial Inclusion of MSMEs.
  • Government of India’s efforts focused on Digital India and developing India Stack including Voluntary Aadhaar for financial inclusion have evoked significant interest from various stakeholders in the area of Financial Technology (FinTech).'

Indian pharma firms give a cold reply to china

  • A call for expression of interest from Indian pharma companies desirous of supplying medicines to a Chinese province has met with lukewarm response, something which is bound to turn the spotlight on the regulatory approval process in China.
  • There has not been one response thus far, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India Director General Ravi UdayaBhaskar said late on Friday, when a deadline for the companies to respond to the Yunnan province’s call ended. A few companies had, however, sought to know the list of products the province wanted to source, he said.
  • Indian pharma firms were asked to submit a list of products they can supply to Yunnan, along with certifications such as those from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), if any.
  • The response may have been better had the companies been provided with a list of products Yunnan planned to source, Mr. Bhaskar said. Lack of information as well as the regulatory process in China, especially the time taken for product registration, were issues behind the level of response, he added.
  • Three to five years is the norm for getting a product registration from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and this comes to about $58,000 per drug. Also, this is not the first instance of such a tepid response from pharma firms — they did not evince much interest when opportunities in Guiyang City were highlighted
  • Thus, Pharmexcil is keen on stepping up its efforts to pursue the Chinese government to fast track the registration and medicines procurement process from India. The Council is also working with the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products.

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President to start 3 nation visit from today

  • President Ram NathKovind will visit Croatia, Bolivia and Chile from today till the 2nd of next month. Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry Vijay Thakur Singh said, MrKovind will meet his Croatian counterpart and Prime Minister of Croatia and discuss the issues of mutual interest. She said, there is a scope for further investment in diverse sectors in Croatia. It will be MrKovind's first visit to Croatia.
  • The Secretary said, in Bolivia, the President will hold restricted and delegation level talks with his counterpart. He will participate in India-Bolivia business forum meeting and interact with students. India's bilateral relations with Bolivia are warm and age-old.
  • Trade relations between the two sides have improved. India has also been providing capacity building support to that country.
  • On the last leg of his visit, MrKovind will reach Chile on 30th. He will hold talks with Chile Counterpart and discuss issues of mutual interest. Improving Trade and Economic relations will be on the agenda. MrKovind will also interact with the Indian community.
  • Ms. Singh said President's visit to these three countries will further strengthen India's bilateral relations with them.

Oman and U.S sign agreement for use of ports

  • Oman has signed an agreement with the United States that allow American ships and warplanes to take advantage of his ports and airports. The state-run Oman News Agency said the framework agreement is aimed at bolstering Omani-American military relations.
  • The agreement will allow the US forces to take advantage from the facilities offered at some of the Sultanate's ports and airports during visits of the US military vessels and aircraft, particularly in the port of Duqm, it said.
  • Duqm port is located in southern Oman on the Arabian Sea and around 500 kilometres from the Strait of Hormuz. At the mouth of the Gulf, the strait is crucial to global energy supplies.
  • The US-Omani deal was signed by the defence ministries of both countries.


UN reports claim India has achieved 84% reduction in TB deaths

  • India has achieved an 84 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017.
  • According to the Joint United Nations Programme on the UNAIDS, it is the highest recorded decline among over 20 nations and it is also three years ahead of the 2020 deadline.
  • UNAIDS has urged countries to step up action to meet the 2020 target of reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV by 75 per cent, as outlined in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS.
  • World Health Organisation estimates show that globally, TB deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 42 per cent since 2010.


India-South Korea match ends in a draw

  • In Men's Hockey, a second round-robin match between India and South Korea ended in a draw with a score of one goal each, in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at in the Malaysian city of Ipoh yesterday. The match was suspended temporarily due to inclement weather.
  • In the tournament opener yesterday, five-time winners India defeated Asian Games gold medalist Japan 2-nil to begin their campaign on a positive note. Varun Kumar and Simranjeet Singh were the goal scorers.
  • India will now play with Malaysia on Tuesday, Canada the next day and Poland on Friday. Top two teams at the end of the round-robin stage will meet each other in the Final on Saturday.

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