Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

Govt.approves updation of National Population Register

  • Union Cabinet approves conduct of Census of India 2021 and updation of National Population Register. Cabinet approved expenditure of over 8 thousand 754 crore rupees for the exercise of Census of India 2021 and over 3 thousand 941 crore rupees for updation of National Population Register. The next decennial Census is due in 2021 and would be conducted in two phases.

  • The House listing and Housing Census will be carried out from April to September, 2020 and Population Enumeration from 9th February to 28th February, 2021.

  • Briefing reporters after the meeting, Union Minister PrakashJavadekar said that Census exercise will be done by using App based technology to make it more easier. He assured that no proof, document or biometric will be taken during the process of NPR from the people.

  • He said, the NDA government trusts the people and whatever the people will say, the government will accept it. He clarified that NPR has nothing to do with National Register of Citizens.

  • The minister also said that all the states have already accepted to do NPR and their officers are being trained. He said census is held every 10 years and NPR was started during the UPA government in 2010.

AtalBhujalYojana to be launched by PM today

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi will launch AtalBhujalYojana in New Delhi today. The Central Government scheme will promote Panchayat led ground water management and behavioural changes with primary focus on demand side management.

  • Union Cabinet approved the 6,000 crore rupees scheme at a meeting yesterday. Information and Broadcasting Minister PrakashJavadekar said, the scheme will be implemented over a period of 5 years in identified areas in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. He said, the scheme will boost the income of farmers.

  • AIR correspondent reports that ground water contributes to nearly 65 per cent of total irrigated area of the country and nearly 85 per cent of the rural drinking water supply.

  • The limited ground water resources in the country are under threat due to the increasing demands of growing population, urbanization and industrialization. AtalBhujalYojana has two major components.

  • One is strengthening institutional arrangements for sustainable ground water management in the States including improving monitoring networks, capacity building and strengthening of Water User Associations. Second is incentivising the States for achievements in improved groundwater management practices.

  • The scheme will result in efficient use of available ground water resources with emphasis on demand side measures like micro-irrigation, crop diversification and electricity feeder separation. It will also contribute towards the goal of doubling the farmers' income.

::ECONOMY::

RBI extends supervision to auditors, rating agencies

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended supervision to auditors, banks and rating companies to prevent defaults and ensure broader financial stability.

  • It has taken steps to strengthen the supervision of NBFCs, rating companies and auditors, which will ensure that these functions are carried out in a focused manner.

  • There are 276 deposit-taking NBFCs with asset size of more than Rs 500 crore that face greater on-site and off-site monitoring, and together they account for 85% of the sector’s assets.

  • In the past, RBI had proposed to integrate certain functions of supervisory departments to understand the systemic linkage between banks and NBFCs, and their interconnectedness, to enable holistic understanding of systemic risks, linkages, contagion and risk build-up across entities.

  • The Finance Bill 2019, through amendments in the RBI Act, 1934, conferred powers on the RBI to bolster governance of NBFCs. “These measures are geared toward allaying investors’ apprehensions and aiding NBFCs in performing their role better,” said RBI. “Going forward, the RBI will continue to maintain constant vigil over NBFCs & take necessary steps to ensure overall financial stability.”

Social sector pitches for increased spending in various sectors

  • Social sector has pitched for an increase in spending on health, education and rural India with focus on better delivery and a tax holiday for skills development programmes.

  • At a pre-budget consultation with minister for state for finance Anurag Thakur on Monday, representatives from health, education and rural development sectors stressed on improving efficiency in delivery of health services, improving learning outcomes at primary level while making secondary and higher level education affordable and introducing reforms related to pension and social protections for the weaker sections.

  • The focus of government should be on public investment in social sector, gender equality with bottoms up methodology and it should look at ways to boost economic and social infrastructure of rural sector besides ways to eradicate unemployment and poverty through development of agriculture and allied sector as well as nonfarm sector.

  • Representatives from rural sanitation and hygiene needs to be scaled up while the government should provide sustainable solutions to water scarcity, said experts and other representatives from water and sanitation sectors.

  • Discussions also took place on removing disparities in accessing sanitation and quality of water, while suggestions were made on decentralisation of waste management system, focus on waste conservation and having a bottom’s up approach, for effective implementation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India-Oman expand maritime cooperation

  • India and Oman signed a Maritime Transport Agreement on Tuesday during the visit of foreign minister S Jaishankar to the Sultanate. The pact – the first with any Gulf country – enables India to expand its footprint in the western Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and east Africa.

  • Additionally, in a significant development that will have a far-reaching impact on stability in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and India’s interests in the region, the Jaishankar met his counterparts from Oman and Iran for lunch in Muscat on Tuesday for what can be described as the first trilateral of sorts.

  • Oman, India’s oldest strategic partner in the Gulf, seeks to emerge as a hub for India for eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean Region, furthering New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Jaishankar met Omani ministers including his counterpart Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, deputy PM Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said and defence minister Bader Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi.

  • Oman and India are linked by geography, history and culture. The two countries enjoy warm and cordial relations attributed to historical maritime trade linkages and close links of Oman’s royal family with India.

  • Investment flows between Oman and India have increased and have been robust, as reflected in numerous joint ventures, established in both countries, with total investment estimated at $7.5 billion. There are over 3,200 Indian enterprises and establishments in Oman and 400 flights a week between the two countries.

Iraq approves new election law amid protests

  • Iraq's parliament approved a new election law on Tuesday aimed at giving political independents a better chance of winning seats in parliament. The new law changes each of the country's 18 provinces into several electoral districts, with one legislator elected per 100,000 people.

  • It also prevents parties from running on unified lists, which in the past have helped them easily sweep all the seats in a specific province. Instead, seats will go to whoever gets the most votes in the electoral districts.

  • Drafting a new election law has been a key demand for the hundreds of thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south since October 1. They have already forced Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to resign late last month.

  • Iraqi security forces have responded with lethal force, killing at least 400 people.Iraq's 329-member parliament was elected in May 2018. The vote is held every four years, but the protesters have been demanding early elections.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Report suggests India third largest producer of scientific articles

  • With over 1.35 lakh scientific papers published, India has become the world's third largest publisher of science and engineering articles, according to a US government agency data, topped by China.

  • As per the statistics compiled by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the number of scientific papers published worldwide increased from 1,755,850 in 2008 to 2,555,959 in 2018.

  • The global research output, as measured by peer-reviewed science and engineering (S&E) journal articles and conference papers, grew about four per cent annually over the last 10 years.

  • The data, which was released on Tuesday, stated that in 2008, India published 48,998 science and engineering articles. This increased to 1,35,788 articles in 2018 at an average annual growth rate of 10.73 per cent and the country now accounts for 5.31 per cent of the total world publications in science and engineering.

  • China, which accounts for 20.67 per cent of all global publications in scientific articles, is at the top position, followed by the US at 16.54 per cent.

  • According to the report, China's rate of research output has grown almost twice as fast as the world's annual average for the last 10 years, while the output of the US and the European Union (EU) has grown at less than half the world's annual growth rate.

  • Research papers from the US and the EU continue to have the most impact; however, China has shown a rapid increase in producing impactful publications, as measured by references to journal articles and conference papers.

  • Specialisation in scientific fields differs among countries, with the US, the EU and Japan more specialised in health sciences and China and India more specialised in engineering, as measured by journal articles and conference papers.

::SPORTS::

Manu Bhaker and AnishBhanwalaclinches gold

  • Commonwealth Games champions Manu Bhaker and AnishBhanwala clinched gold medals at the 63rd National Shooting Championships in Bhopal yesterday.

  • The 17-year-old Bhaker, representing Haryana, clinched four gold medals (individual and team events in senior and junior) in the women's 10 meter air pistol. She shot 243 to emerge triumphant in the eight-woman final. She then shot 588 to top qualifications and equal the record set by Annu Raj Singh in the South Asian Games.

  • Her state-mate Anish, also 17, won individual gold medal in the senior men's 25 meter rapid fire pistol event to stamp his dominance. Bhanwala shot 28 in the rapid fire final to leave behind BhaveshShekhawat of Rajasthan who ended with 26 while Chandigarh's VijayveerSidhu came third with 22 hits.

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