Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 February 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 February 2020


India gets support from big nations to fight against terrorism

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the whole world is coming together in the fight against terrorism and India is getting support of big nations against countries like Pakistan for global peace.

  • Addressing a seminar in New Delhi today, Mr Singh said, recently the impact of collective diplomatic pressure on Pakistan was seen. He said, until Pakistan is held openly accountable for creating safe haven for terrorism, it will continue the policy of duplicity and deceit. The Minister said, terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, who used to get VIP treatment in Pakistan, are now behind bars, but that is not enough against this menace.

  • Mr Singh said, Balakot airstrike conveyed India's clear message that infrastructure across the border could not be safe haven for terrorists. He said, the Balakot airstrikes have forced rewriting of doctrines across the border and showed our resolve and capability.

  • He said, security scenario has completely changed in last few years and Kargil and incidents of cross border terrorism are examples of new kind of warfare.

  • Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said, deterrence comes from keeping every personnel trained and motivated.

  • He emphasized that credible deterrence comes from the will of the military leadership and intent of political leadership while taking the tough decision. He said, it was shown after Kargil, Uri attacks and Pulwama attack.

CPCB orders surveillance of polluting tanneries in U.P

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) for its inability to prevent drains in Kanpur from polluting the Ganga.

  • Some of these drains were tapped under cleaning works under the Namami Ganga Programme. The CPCB and the UPPCB had been jointly monitoring 24 drains - two in Unnao and 22 in Kanpur since March 2019.

  • Over a thousand industries, including sugarcane, pulp and paper and tanneries, and slaughter houses had been marked out and monitored for effluent load.

  • The CPCPB has ordered the UPPCB to “expedite surveillance” of tanneries responsible for the discharge.

  • “During the inspection, tapping arrangement was found to be ineffective and overflow was observed reaching directly to the Ganga,” the CPCB said in its inspection note of February 21.

  • Kanpur contributes the highest pollution load among all of the cities of Uttar Pradesh, which itself accounts for 75% of the pollution load in the Ganga. Consequently, the city has been allotted about ₹1,000 crore — more than any other city under the ₹20,000 crore-plus programme.


Centre claims $5trillion economy possible only when share of MSME sector to national growth increases

  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the vision of achieving 5 trillion dollar economy will only be possible when 29 percent share of MSMEs to national growth will reach fifty percent.

  • Speaking after conferring upon National MSME Awards to awardees in New Delhi today, Mr. Gadkari said, only MSME sector can resolve the problem of unemployment in the country and his Ministry is ensuring that banks provide all necessary assistance to the sector to grow.

  • The Minister said, government has determined to increase the contribution of MSME in the national export to a significant level which is currently at 45 percent.

  • On the occasion, Mr Gadkari conferred 50 National MSME Awards upon awardees for their outstanding performance and contribution in the development of MSME sector.

  • Our Correspondent reports that these awards are given every year in seven different categories to give recognition and honour entrepreneurs to felicitate their outstanding performances. The awards were given away to the various departments of the State and Union Territories for promotion and development of MSME sector in their jurisdiction.

Telcos seek measures from centre to reduce financial stress in the industry

  • Reeling under pressure to clear their adjusted gross revenue-related dues, telecom companies have sent an SOS to the government seeking measures on a ‘priority basis’ to facilitate reduction of financial stress in the industry.

  • In a letter to various government departments, including the Prime Minister’s Office, industry body COAI highlighted that banks were currently unwilling to take any risk with regard to the telecom sector and there was a need to give a clear message to banks that the government was there to support the sector.

  • “The banks are constantly asking telcos to reduce their exposures by refusing to issue new bank guarantees or even to renew the bank guarantees,” COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said, adding that the requirement for financial bank guarantees (FBGs) to secure payment of licence fee should be done away with.

  • On AGR dues, Mr. Mathews requested that as individual firms were stretching to make as much payment possible in a stressed financial situation, the government could adjust the GST credit due to the telcos from the government.

  • As an alternative, Mr. Mathews said the government may consider granting loan equal to the AGR amount at 6% rate of interest so that the AGR liability may be discharged immediately.

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UK threatens to pull out of EU trade talks

  • Britain put the prospect of a chaotic Brexit back on the table on Thursday as it set out its red lines for trade talks with the European Union.

  • In its mandate for the negotiations that will start on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government rebuffed EU demands for common trading standards and continued fishing rights.

  • And it warned it could walk away from the talks if a “broad outline” of a deal is not agreed by a meeting planned for June.

  • This would see Britain’s currently seamless trading arrangements with the EU, forged over half a century, abruptly end after a post-Brexit transition period expires in December.

  • The European Commission, which is negotiating on behalf of the EU’s 27 member states, said it was preparing for all scenarios.

  • One crucial issue for both sides in the upcoming negotiations is fishing rights. But it is also vital for many EU countries, notably France, where fish and seafood caught in U.K. waters account 30% of sales for fishermen.

  • Brussels wants to maintain the right of its fleets to fish in U.K. waters, warning that failure to agree on this could scupper the wider trade talks. But Mr. Gove warned: “We will take back control of our waters as an independent coastal State and we will not link access to our waters to access to EU markets.”

UN HR chief regrets Srilankan withdrawal decision

  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said she “regretted” the new government’s “very different approach” to commitments that Sri Lanka previously made to the Council.

  • Urging Sri Lanka to implement the 2015 resolution, which drew from domestic processes, including those initiated by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ms. Bachelet said the measures in it were “essential” for a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka.

  • The High Commissioner’s remarks came a day after Sri Lanka’s Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena officially notified the Council on Wednesday that Sri Lanka was withdrawing from co-sponsoring the UN resolution on post-war accountability and reconciliation, instead promising a process that was “domestically designed and executed”.

  • Further, underscoring the need for independent institutions, she said she was “troubled by the recent trend towards moving civilian functions under the Ministry of Defence or retired military officers, and renewed reports of surveillance and harassment of rights defenders, journalists and victims.”

  • The “increasing levels” of hate speech, and policy measures seemed “discriminately and disproportionately directed against minorities”, both Tamil and Muslim, she added.


U.S to deliver multi role helicopters by 2021

  • Lockheed Martin will deliver six MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) to the Navy in 2021 and the order would be completed by 2025, sources said on Thursday. The deal, worth around $2.2 billion, was signed early this week during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump.

  • The Navy said in a statement that as envisioned in the ‘Capability Based Perspective Plan,’ the helicopters were being procured under the ‘Buy (Global)’ Category through the Foreign Military Sales route of the U.S.

  • “The delivery of the helicopters is planned commencing early 2021 and comes at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines,” it stated.

  • These helicopters will replace the Sea King 42/42A helicopters already decommissioned in the 1990s. They are envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers providing them flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attacking capability.


Maria Sharapova announces retirement from Tennis

  • Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, one of the world's most recognisable sportswomen, today announced her retirement from tennis. In an article for Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines, Sharapova said, "Tennis - I'm saying goodbye,".

  • Sharapova said that her body had become a distraction after a struggle with shoulder injuries. The Russian won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2004 aged 17 and completed the career slam, all four major titles, by winning the French Open in 2012.

  • In 2016, she served a 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium. After returning from her ban in 2017, Sharapova struggled to recapture her best form and suffered from a number of injuries.

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