Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 June 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 June 2019


::NATIONAL::

Prezident’s rule extended in Jammu & Kashmir for 6 more months

  • The LokSabha on Friday approved the extension of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, beginning July 3.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah assured the House that “democratic, free and fair Assembly elections will be held in the State by the year-end”.Article 370 of the Constitution, which extends special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is “temporary in nature’’ and “not permanent,” he told the House.

  • With this, people living along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir will get the benefit of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission to professional courses on a par with those living along the Actual Line of Control (ALoC).

  • Continuing his attack on the Opposition party, he said Article 356 (President’s Rule) had so far been imposed 132 times, of which the Congress had used it 93 times to dismiss State governments.

  • He said his government withdrew the security of 919 people in the State as they faced no threat. During the tenure of President’s rule in J&K, terrorism had been tackled strongly and the State saw development on a number of fronts, including the conduct of panchayat elections.

  • Mr. Shah’s proposal to extend President’s rule in the State drew sharp remarks from the Opposition benches, including Manish Tewari from the Congress and N.K. Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Both parliamentarians opposed the proposal saying there was not enough ground for the Union government to do so.

NITI Aayog justifies its decision of transition to electric vehicles

  • Countering the industry’s claims that the NITI Aayog’s proposal for transition to electric vehicles (EVs) was “unrealistic” and “ill-timed”, the think-tank’s Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said it was a well-thought-out policy to capitalise on the “sunrise industry” and that two-wheeler makers should work with the NITI Aayog rather than paint an incorrect picture.

  • Additionally, he pointed out, the figure of Rs. 70,000 crore-Rs. 80,000 crore cited by the industry as investment to move to BS-VI was primarily by the four-wheeler industry.

  • “At this point of time, we want to achieve policy clarity. Rather than going that route [BS VI], they can switch to this route [electric]. And if investments have been made, then they have five years to fully utilise these investments... Plus they can continue to export ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles,” he said.

  • In a recent meeting between the Aayog and the industry, “Everyone agreed that the transition to electric is in the national interest. Some players said 2025 was too short a time-frame, but when we asked them to give a time-frame, they said they can’t give one and the market should decide. If you are the dominant player and will continue producing ICE vehicles, how will the market decide,” Mr. Kumar said.

  • In the meeting last week, one of the major two-wheeler makers pointed out that we need to have proof of concept, but in the same meeting there were start-ups which pointed out that electric vehicles were already on the roads and there was sufficient proof of concept.

::ECONOMY::

Current account deficit narrows compared to previous year

  • The country’s current account deficit (CAD) for the January-March period narrowed to 0.7% of the GDP, or $4.6 billion, compared with 1.8%, or $ 13 billion recorded during the same period of the previous year. The deficit narrowed due to a lower trade deficit.

  • While foreign portfolio investments recorded a net inflow of $9.4 billion, compared with $2.3 billion, on account of net purchases in both debt and equity markets, foreign direct investment at $6.4 billion during the January-March period was at the same level of the fourth quarter of the previous financial year.

  • For the full financial year 2018-19, CAD increased to 2.1% of the GDP in 2018-19 from 1.8% in 2017-18 on the back of a widening trade deficit. The country’s trade deficit increased to $180.3 billion in 2018-19 from $160 billion in 2017-18.

  • The country’s foreign exchange reserves hit a record high of $426.41 billion for the week ended June 21, latest data from Reserve Bank of India showed.The previous high was attained on April 13, 2018 when it was $426.08 billion.

  • During the week ended June 21, foreign exchange reserves swelled by a whopping $4.2 billion.The increase in foreign currency reserves is due to an increase in foreign currency assets of similar magnitude.

RBI allows ARC’s to buy financial assets

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) to buy financial assets from other such entities. However, all such transactions have to settled in cash, the banking regulator said.

  • “In view of amendment to the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002, it has been decided to permit ARCs to acquire financial assets from other ARCs,” the RBI said.

  • “Price discovery for such transaction shall not be prejudicial to the interest of security receipt holders,” the RBI further said, adding the selling ARC must utilise the proceeds so received for the redemption of underlying security receipts.

  • The date of redemption of underlying Security Receipts and total period of realisation should not extend beyond eight years from the date of acquisition of the financial asset by the first ARC, RBI said.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India describes terrorism as threat to humanity at G20

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi today held a tri-lateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed issues like terrorism and climate change on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka.

  • Speaking at the meeting, Mr Modi said terrorism is the biggest threat to humanity.MrModi said the trilateral meeting in Osaka is a useful medium of discussion and coordination on major global issues.

  • Earlier, in the day Prime minister met several world leaders including US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the first day of G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

  • BRICS nation called for the rule-based multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO to ensure transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive international trade, amid growing protectionism.

  • Speaking to media, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said Mr Modi also highlighted the need to bring reforms into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in order to ensure equal growth for all.

Trump holds talks with Putin on sidelines of G20

  • US President Donald Trump hailed his very good relationship with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as the two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the G20 meeting today.

  • Trump came face to face with Putin for the first time since the special counsel found extensive evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

  • A major probe led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found there was an organised Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election won by Trump.It found contacts between Russian operatives and Trump's election campaign, but no evidence of a joint plot.

  • In Helsinki last year, Trump refused at a joint press conference with Putin to criticise Russian interference in the 2016 election and said that he believed the Russian leader's denials.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

NASA gets ready for dragonfly mission to Titan

  • For its next mission in our solar system, NASA plans to fly a drone copter to Saturn’s largest moon Titan in search of the building blocks of life, the space agency said on Thursday.

  • The Dragonfly mission, which will launch in 2026 and land in 2034, will send a rotorcraft to fly to dozens of locations across the icy moon, which has a substantial atmosphere and is viewed by scientists as an equivalent of very early-era earth.

  • It is the only celestial body besides our planet known to have liquid rivers, lakes and seas on its surface, though these contain hydrocarbons like methane and ethane, not water. “During its 2.7-year baseline mission, Dragonfly will explore diverse environments from organic dunes to the floor of an impact crater where liquid water and complex organic materials key to life once existed together for possibly tens of thousands of years,” NASA said.

  • The craft will land first at the equatorial “Shangri-La” dune, exploring the region in short trips before building up to longer “leapfrog” flights of 8 km.

::SPORTS::

SAI withdraws order banning parents,coaches from shooting range

  • The Sports Authority of India (SAI) today withdrew its controversial circular to ban parents and personal coaches of shooters from the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi during practice.

  • Recently, an order issued by the authorities at the shooting range restricted the movement of parents and coaches inside the range, leading to a controversy.

  • As per international guidelines, they will, however, be not allowed on Field of Play.

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