Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 FEBRUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 FEBRUARY 2019


PM dedicates national war memorial to the nation

  •  Prime Minister NarendraModi dedicated to the nation the National War Memorial near India Gate in New Delhi on Monday evening. He lighted the eternal flame at the central obelisk in the war memorial complex.
  •  The National War Memorial commemorates the soldiers who participated and made the supreme sacrifice in Peace Keeping Missions and Counter Insurgency Operations.
  •  The Prime Minister, in his address to the war veterans ahead of the dedication of the memorial to the nation, said the Indian armed forces is one of the bravest armies in the world.
  •  Mr Modi said, the country's soldiers have always accepted challenges and have responded efficiently. The Prime Minister said, his government has fulfilled the long-standing demand for the National War Memorial.
  •  The Prime Minister said, his government is working tirelessly to make Indian Armed forces self-reliant. He alleged that armed forces and national security suffered due to the negligence of the previous governments. In a veiled attack at the Congress, Mr Modi accused the party of creating hurdles in the procurement of Rafale fighter jets.
  •  The Prime Minister also announced setting up of three super speciality hospitals for the armed forces. He also paid tributes to the martyrs of Pulwama terror attack.
  •  Speaking on the occasion, Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman said, with the inauguration of National War Memorial, Indians now have one more pilgrimage centre to pay tributes to fallen soldiers.

Survey claims drought to be less severe this year

  •  There’s unlikely to be a drought in 2019 as the El Nino a climate phenomenon linked to poor monsoon in India is likely to peter out by the beginning of the season, according to a forecast on Monday by private weather forecaster Skymet.
  •  “The El Nino conditions were on the rise in the Pacific Ocean till December last. The temperatures are now declining, and the probability of El Nino is also falling. This will reduce to about 50% by the time monsoon arrives with a gradual decline thereafter as well. This means it is going to be a devolving El Nino year,” said Jatin Singh, managing director, Skymet Weather.
  •  An El Nino refers to a half-to-one-degree rise in temperatures in the Central equatorial Pacific and is linked to a reduction in rains over key monsoon belts.
  •  Earlier this month, the U.S. National Climate Centre issued a forecast that an El Nino had formed, was likely to persist until spring but there was only a 50% chance that it would persist beyond spring (March-April).
  •  “Because forecasts through the spring tend to be more uncertain and/or less accurate, the predicted chance that El Nino will persist beyond spring is 50% or less” the climate centre’s statement noted.
  •  Mr. Singh said that while the chances of a normal monsoon were the highest, about 50%, the next highest odds were those of ‘below normal’ rains.
  •  The India Meteorological Department (IMD) too concurred that a strong El Nino is unlikely but said it’s too early to rule out a drought. “The way we compute,we need weather conditions until March 30 to input into our models and only then we get a sense of the monsoon.


PM rejects opposition claim on joblessness

  •  Prime Minister NarendraModi has dismissed the opposition allegation of joblessness in the country saying that nearly 1.2 crore jobs have been created annually in different sectors including tourism, aviation and infrastructure development.
  •  Mr Modi wondered how it is possible that jobs are not being created when FDI is at an all-time high, a large number of commercial vehicles have been sold, road, rail and housing construction and other infrastructure development works are on full swing and India is among the fastest growing economy.
  •  Prime Minister was speaking at the Rising India Summit in New Delhi last night. Mr Modi also wondered how it is possible without employment when several International reports have mentioned that poverty is declining at a faster pace in India.
  •  Prime Minister however said, he is not satisfied with the current job scenario in the country as there is a need to do a lot in this direction.
  •  Prime Minister said the inflation rate is now in the range of 2 to 4 per cent. Mr Modi said it is the NDA government which has provided tax relief to the middle class on the income up to 5 lakh rupees. The Prime Minister said, India was one of the Fragile five nations in 2013 and now it has become the fastest growing large economy in the world.
  •  Mr Modi attacked opposition for corruption and delay in completion of various development projects. Prime Minister said, now the scenario has changed and if one wants to indulge in scams, they cannot do so as the NDA regime has blocked all means of looting public money.'

Commercial banks to take RBI repo rate as benchmark lending rate

  •  Most commercial banks in India are likely to select RBI’s repo rate as the external benchmark to decide their lending rates, from April 1. The repo rate is the key policy rate of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  •  The banking regulator had asked the banks to move to an external benchmark for loan pricing from April 1, a move expected to improve monetary transmission as lenders had, in the past, been found reluctant to reduce lending rate.
  •  The marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) is currently the benchmark for all loan rates. Banks typically add a spread to the MCLR while pricing loans for homes and automobiles.
  •  For the new benchmark, the central bank has mandated that the spread over the benchmark rate to be decided by banks at the inception of the loan should remain unchanged through the life of the loan, unless the borrower’s credit assessment undergoes a substantial change and as agreed upon in the loan contract.
  •  If the lending rates are linked to the repo rate, any change in the repo rate will immediately impact the home and auto loan rates, since RBI has mandated the spread to remain fixed over the life of the loan
  •  Many banks have opposed the move to shift to a new external benchmark for loan pricing on grounds that their cost of funds are not linked to these benchmarks and that without a fall in the costs, it would not be possible to change the rates.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials


Afghanistan begins export to India via Chabahar port

  •  Afghanistan has begun exports to India through Iran’s Chabahar port, as the landlocked country turns to overseas markets to improve its economy.
  •  At the inauguration of the new export route on Sunday in Zaranj city in western Nimroz province, President Ashraf Ghani said Chabahar port is the result of healthy cooperation between India, Iran and Afghanistan.
  •  He said, with the opening of the Chabahar route, Afghanistan’s exports will increase to two billion dollar from the current one billion dollar in the next year.
  •  Speaking at the ceremony, Indian ambassador Vinay Kumar said Afghanistan’s exports to India have increased by 40 percent after the launch of air corridor between Kabul and New Delhi.
  •  Officials said 23 trucks carrying 57 tonnes of dried fruits, textiles, carpets and mineral products were dispatched from Zaranj to Chabahar port to be shipped to Mumbai.
  •  The Iranian port provides easy access to the sea to Afghanistan and India has helped developed this route to allow both countries to engage in trade bypassing Pakistan.

Cuba votes for new constitution

  •  In Cuba, voters took part in a referendum on a new constitution that expands recognition of private property. The referendum contained only two options: yes or no to the new constitution.
  •  Voters were expected to overwhelmingly approve the draft of a new constitution that preserves the single-party socialist system and centrally planned economy while making some updates.
  •  The new constitution, replacing the 1976 version, recognises a limited role for the free market and private investment, but only under the control of the Communist Party.
  •  The new constitution recognises private and cooperative businesses alongside state ones, creates the posts of prime minister and provincial governor, and introduces the presumption of innocence and habeas corpus to the justice system.
  •  It enshrines socialism as the country's only ideology. Cuba's banned opposition, which normally calls for abstention at elections or spoiling ballot sheets, this time campaigned for a no vote.
  •  The largest block of "no" votes could come from the growing ranks of evangelical Christians in Cuba, who object to language that eliminates a requirement for marriage to be only between a man and woman, paving the way for a future legalisation of gay marriage.


Study reveals increased GHG’s may break up marine clouds

  •  Marine clouds that protect us from hothouse Earth conditions by reflecting sunlight back into space could break up and vanish if CO2 in the atmosphere triples, researchers warned on Monday.
  •  So-called stratocumulus clouds cover about 20% of subtropical oceans, mostly near western seaboards such as the coasts of California, Mexico and Peru.
  •  “When they disappear, Earth warms dramatically, by about eight degrees Celsius in addition to the global warming that comes from enhanced greenhouse concentrations alone,” according to the study.
  •  A temperature increase of that magnitude would melt polar ice and lift sea levels tens of metres.The last time the planet was that hot, some 50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch, crocodiles roamed the Arctic.
  •  Even half that much warming would overwhelm humanity's capacity to adapt, scientists say.A barely one-degree increase since the mid-19th century mostly in the last 50 years has been enough to worsen heatwaves, droughts, and flooding, along with cyclones engorged by rising seas.
  •  Using an innovative approach to modelling the behaviour of the stratus clouds, Mr. Schneider and his colleagues calculated that protective cloud cover could break up if CO2 levels reached 1200 ppm, though the “tipping point” might be somewhat higher. Passing that threshold may not be as far-fetched as it seems, scientists caution.


Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta wins Cannes international trophy

  •  In Chess, Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes International Open trophy yesterday. He took an easy draw with Pier Luigi Basso of Italy in the ninth and final round.
  •  Abhijeet won the tournament with 7.5 points. He started well in the tournament winning the first four rounds. Then two more wins and three draws happened on the way to his first solo International tournament victory.

Click Here For Today's Current Affairs MCQ's

Click Here for Old Current Affairs Archive

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for UPSC Exam

Buy Printed Study Material for UPSC PRELIMS EXAM

Join Test Series for IAS (Pre.) Exam