Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 November 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 November 2019


Nation celebrates constitution adoption day

  • Constitution Day or Samvidhan divas, is being celebrated today across the country to mark the adopting of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly on this day in 1949. It came into force on 26th January, 1950, marking the beginning of a new era in the history of Indian Republic. The government has planned year long activities throughout the country to mark 70 years of the adoption of the Constitution.
  • A joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament will be held today to celebrate the Samvidhan Divas. President Ram NathKovind will address the joint sitting. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister NarendraModi and LokSabha Speaker Om Birla will also attend the function. 
  • On the occasion, the President will inaugurate a digital exhibition through video conferencing from the Central Hall of Parliament. In view of the joint sitting at 11 AM, the LokSabha and the RajyaSabha will meet at 2 PM.
  • Various sections of the society will do a mass reading of the Preamble to the Constitution at 11:00 am today. It is aimed at reiterating and reorienting the citizens towards the values and principles expressed in the Constitution and encouraging all Indians to play their rightful role in strengthening the Indian Democracy. It also aims to create awareness of Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Constitution.
  • During the Mann Ki Baat programme in All India Radio Prime Minister NarendraModi spoke about constitution day and appealed the people to take forward the values enshrined in the constitution and ensure peace, progress and prosperity in the country.

Centre concerned on vacant teacher posts in universities

  • More than 30 thousand teaching posts are lying vacant in various universities across the country.Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh PokhriyalNishank gave the information in a written reply in the LokSabha today.
  • He said the University Grants Commission, UGC, has framed guidelines for recruitment of faculty in universities, colleges and other institutions.
  • He said universities have been requested to take steps to ensure that the vacancies in the universities and colleges should be filled up at the earliest.
  • The Minister said UGC has also framed guidelines for empanelment of adjunct faculty in universities and colleges.
  • The guidelines enable higher educational institutions to access eminent teachers and researches who have completed their formal association with universities and colleges to participate in teaching to collaborate and stimulate research activity for qualifying research at M.Phil. and PhD.


Taxation amendment bill introduced in parliament

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman introduced the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the LokSabha yesterday. The Bill provides domestic companies with a new option to pay tax at the rate of 22 per cent, provided they do not claim certain deductions under the IT Act. 
  • Currently, domestic companies with an annual turnover of up to 400 crore rupees pay income tax at the rate of 25 per cent. For other domestic companies, the tax rate is 30 per cent.
  • The Bill also provides new domestic manufacturing companies with an option to pay income tax at the rate of 15 percent, provided they do not claim certain deductions.
  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019, Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 were also introduced in the House yesterday.

GoM set to resolve land leasing issues soon

  • The Prime Minister’s Office has set up a group of 12 ministers to resolve differences over the proposed Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016. The GoM includes the ministers of defence, home, agriculture and rural development.
  • The model legislation, drafted by the Aayog three years ago, is yet to be adopted by states. Most state governments have either legally banned or slapped restrictions on agricultural land leasing that have forced tenancy to be informal, insecure and inefficient.
  • The move came after the Aayog took up with the PMO the issue of the crucial legislation being held up. The ministers of social justice and empowerment, tribal affairs, environment and forest, railway and commerce and industry are also part of the group.
  • The share of agriculture in the gross domestic product (GDP) is only about 14%, but it employs 49% of the country’s total workforce and 64% of the rural workforce.
  • Landholding sizes, however, remained very small. The Aayog thinks that legalisation of land leasing will reduce the pressure of population on agriculture and enable small farmers to augment their size of operational holdings by leasing in land.

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Srilanka assures will not promote anything affecting India’s security

  • Sri Lankan President GotabayaRajapaksa has said the country cannot engage in any activity which threatens the security of India and that they understand the importance of Indian concerns.
  • In an interview to Strategic News International, the President said they will not do anything that will harm India’s security interests.
  • He requested the Government of India to help through investments, education and the development of technology.
  • Mr.Rajapaksa, who is scheduled to visit India later this week, said they want investments and help, but do not want to get involved in the military and geopolitical rivalry.
  • He called upon countries like India, Singapore, Japan and Australia to come and invest and do not allow only China to make investments.
  • Mr.Gotabaya said their involvement with China in the last few years of MahindaRajapaksa government was purely commercial, but geopolitical analysts tried to show it as part of the String of Pearls, which circles India.
  • He said Hambantota port was Sri Lanka's requirement but agreed that they should have never given its control to China, adding that it was a mistake.
  • The President said they will request China to renegotiate and come with a better deal to assist them as people are not happy with the agreement.

Bangladeshi floating school project gains international attention

  • ‘The Arcadia Education Project’ in South Kanarchor of Bangladesh is an innovative concept. It is an amphibious school built with local material and expertise near the capital city Dhaka. 
  • The floating school is unique in its design and novel in its concept. The school also serves as a shelter, a day care centre and a vocational training centre for the local people.
  • The project involved construction of a school in an area which is under water during the monsoon months. The architect of the project SaifUlHaque designed a school which remains on the ground during dry season and floats on water when the area is submerged in water during monsoon. 
  • He utilised only the local material-bamboo, used tyres and steel drums for constructing the amphibious structure for school. The workforce and artisans for the project were also drawn locally.
  • The project has been lauded for its contribution to improve the lives of rural students coming from poor families. The school provides an open, connected space to provide a conducive atmosphere for the children.
  • The Aga Khan Foundation in its citation lauded the project for its contribution to improve people's lives, social and economic development, access to education in rural communities and global issues like rising water levels.


Researchers find out the most inhabitable region on earth

  • Researchers have found an aquatic environment on the Earth with a complete absence of any forms of life, an advance that may lead to an improved understanding of the limits of habitability. 
  • The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, revealed that any form of microbial life was absent in the hot, saline, hyperacid ponds of the Dallol geothermal field in Ethiopia.
  • They said it is one of the most torrid environments on the planet with daily temperatures in winter exceeding 45 degrees Celsius. The landscape, the researchers said, had abundant hypersaline and hyperacid pools, with pH -- which is measured on a scale from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline) -- even hitting the negative mark.
  • Earlier studies had pointed out that certain microorganisms can develop in this multi-extreme environment and researchers presented the place as an example of the limits of conditions that can support life. The researchers said the place was even proposed as a terrestrial analogue of early Mars.
  • The researchers confirmed the findings with several other methods including a large scale sequencing of genetic markers to detect and classify microorganisms, microbial culture attempts, using fluorescent probes to identify individual cells, chemical analysis of the hypersaline waters.
  • According to the researchers, the study helps in understanding the limits of habitability and presents evidence that there are places even on the Earth's surface which are sterile though they contain liquid water. They said the presence of liquid water on a planet -- which is often used as a habitability criterion -- does not directly imply the presence of life.


Rafael nadal wins his 6thdavis cup title

  • In tennis, world number one Rafael Nadal has clinched sixth Davis Cup title for Spain after beating Denis Shapovalov of Canada in front of a jubilant home crowd in Madrid. Nadal defeated Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) to clinch Spain’s 2-0 win against Canada.
  • Earlier yesterday, compatriot, Roberto Bautista Agut put Nadal in position to clinch the trophy with a 7-6, 6-3 win against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the opener.
  • The world number one has won all eight of his rubbers this week to help Spain to a first title since 2011. In 2010 Nadal won three majors, but the 33-year-old will likely look back on 2019 as an extraordinary year as he won the French Open and the US Open, made the Australian Open final and also reached the Wimbledon semifinals.

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