Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 27 DECEMBER 2018
NITI Aayog to release delta ranking under aspirational district programme
- NITI Aayog will release the Second Delta Ranking of the
Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) .Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog
will release the Second Delta Ranking under ADP and brief the media on this
- The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on
parameters across Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water
Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure
through key performance indicators.
- The rankings, for the first time, will also factor in inputs from
household survey conducted by NITI Aayog’s knowledge partners, namely, TATA
Trusts and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
- The Aspirational District Programme was launched by the Prime
Minister on January 5, 2018. It aims to rapidly transform the districts that
have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas and have emerged
as pockets of under-development, thereby posing a challenge to ensure
balanced regional development.
- The first Delta ranking for the Aspirational Districts was
released in June 2018.It ranked the Aspirational Districts on improved
performance across five developmental areas of Health and Nutrition,
Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Financial Inclusion and Skill
Development, and Basic Infrastructure, over the months of April and May
2018, on the basis of self-reported data.
EC bans all kinds of tobacco near polling booths for 2019 elections
- The Election Commission has banned all kinds of tobacco in polling
booths during next year's general elections, in a bid to effectively
implement tobacco control laws in the country.
- The Commission has asked all states and Union Territories to issue
instructions to district electoral officers-cum-district magistrates to
ensure prohibition of not just smoking, but also the use of chewable tobacco
in all polling booths.
- The Commission's guidelines said all the polling booths in country
to be declared tobacco free and not just smoke free and hence use of bidi,
cigarette, gutkha, chewable tobacco are prohibited in all polling booth. As
per the guidelines, each polling booth will have a banner put up, saying the
- The presiding officer of each polling booth will be nominated as
nodal officer for ensuring tobacco-free status at their booths. All district
tobacco control cells will supervise and monitor this campaign to sensitise
people on ill effects of tobacco.
Government reviews guidelines for FDI in e-commerce market
- Government has reviewed guidelines for Foreign Direct Investment
in E- commerce companies to protect the interests of domestic players. It
has taken host of steps and barred e-commerce companies from selling
products of the companies in which they have stake.
- In a statement, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said, it has
also prohibited e-commerce companies from entering into an agreement for
exclusive sale of products.
- Cash back provided to buyers by group companies of marketplace
entity shall be fair and non-discriminatory. The Ministry said, E-commerce
entities providing marketplace will not directly or indirectly influence the
sale price of goods or services and shall maintain level playing field.
These decision will come into effect from 1st of February, 2019.
- The decision comes in the backdrop of several complaints being
flagged by domestic traders on heavy discounts being given by e-commerce
players to consumers. Traders have welcomed the government's move to tighten
norms for sale of products by e-commerce firms.
Manufacturing sector posts growth in second quarter
- The manufacturing sector, particularly the textile, iron and steel
segments, maintained the pace of sales growth in the second quarter of
2018-19 compared with the year-earlier period, the RBI said on Wednesday.
- Demand conditions in the manufacturing sector “maintained its pace
in the September quarter 2018-19 as reflected in strong sales growth
(year-on-year),” as per the RBI analysis of 2,700 listed private sector
- The central bank said heavy moderation was seen in the sales
growth of motor vehicles and other transport equipment, driven in part by a
large adverse base effect, and pharmaceutical and medicine industries.
- The information technology (IT) sector also recorded further
improvement in sales growth over the year-ago period.
- The manufacturing sector continued to record strong growth in net
profit, which received support from other income.
- On the expenditure front, manufacturing companies continued to
face rising input cost (cost of raw materials, staff cost) pressures. In the
case of the IT sector, staff costs accelerated in tandem with the
improvement in sales growth, the RBI said.
Iran holds talks with Taliban leaders
- Iran has met with the Afghan Taliban, a top Iranian security
official said on Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency, just days
after the militants attended reconciliation talks in the UAE.
- Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security
Council, made the announcement while on a visit to Kabul, several Iranian
agencies reported. “The Afghan government has been informed of the
communications and talks carried out with the Taliban, and this process will
continue,” he said, quoted by Tasnim. No details on where the talks took
place were given by the news agency, which is considered close to Iran’s
- The announcement follows reconciliation talks last week between
the U.S. and Taliban officials in the UAE.
- Iran and Afghanistan share a nearly 600-mile border, and have a
had a complex relationship in recent years. Tehran has long supported its
co-religionists in Afghanistan, the Shia Hazara minority, who were violently
persecuted by the Taliban during its rule in the 1990s.
- Iran worked alongside the United States and Western powers to help
drive out the Taliban after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
Russia test fires hypersonic missile
- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed final tests
of a hypersonic missile, which he had earlier said would render existing
missile systems obsolete.
- “On my instructions, the Ministry of Defence prepared and
conducted a final test of this system. This has just been completed with
absolute success,” Mr. Putin said, during a televised meeting with members
of the government.
- The Kremlin told Russian news agencies that the test had taken
place in far eastern Kamchatka. Mr. Putin had unveiled features of the
Avangard during his annual address in March, which he said would be part of
a new generation of “invincible” weaponry.
- The hypersonic missile could fly at 20 times the speed of sound
and manoeuvre up and down, meaning that it could breach defence systems, he
had said at the time.
- The final test comes after U.S. President Donald Trump announced
plans to pull out of a key Cold War-era nuclear weapons pact, the
three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Mr. Putin
has laid out plans to develop missiles banned under the deal if the U.S.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Japan to withdraw from international Whaling commission
- Japan on Wednesday said it is withdrawing from the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) and will resume commercial whaling next year, in a
move expected to spark international criticism.
- The announcement had been widely expected and comes after Japan
failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume
- Tokyo has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the body, and has
been regularly criticised for catching hundreds of whales a year for
“scientific research” despite being a signatory to a moratorium on hunting
- Leaving the IWC means Japanese whalers will be able to resume
hunting in Japanese coastal waters of minke and other whales currently
protected by the IWC.
- The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world’s
whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling
- Tokyo has long exploited a loophole allowing whales to be killed
for “scientific research” and says it is trying to prove the population is
large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting.
Ricky Ponting inducted into ICC hall of fame
- Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was formally inducted into
the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
- To mark the occasion, Ponting received his commemorative cap from
compatriot ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, Glenn McGrath, during the tea break on
the opening day of the third Test against India at the MCG.
- Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with
former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter
Claire Taylor during the ICC Annual Conference in Dublin in July. Ponting
could not attend the ICC conference
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