Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 29 DECEMBER 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 DECEMBER 2018


Centre brings in stringer measures to curb child abuse

  •  The government on Friday approved amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, to bring punishments for sexual assaults on boys on a par with those against girls. These include the provision of death penalty when the child is under 12 years and when a penetrative sexual assault is committed by a relative.
  •  The amendments approved by the Union Cabinet will now have to be passed by Parliament. An official of the Ministry of Women and Child Development said the government intends to introduce the amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
  •  Provisions were also added to provide imprisonment for the rest of one’s natural life for gang rape of a girl under 16 years, while rape of a girl in the same age bracket would be punishable with jail of minimum 20 years upto life imprisonment.
  •  However, the absence of these changes to POCSO Act , 2012, which deals with sexual crimes against both girls and boys, meant that same offences committed against boys carried lighter punishments.
  •  The government has also amended the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault to include an offence that causes the death of a child. The minimum punishment for penetrative sexual assault has been increased from seven years in jail to 10 years.

Cabinet approves NCIM bill 2018

  •  The Cabinet today approved the draft National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2018, which seeks to replace the existing regulator Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM) with a new body to ensure transparency.
  •  The draft bill provides for the constitution of a National Commission with four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting overall education of Ayurveda, under Board of Ayurveda and Unani, Siddha &Sowarigpa under Board of Unaini, Siddha and Sowarigpa.
  •  There are two common Boards namely, Board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission to educational institutions of Indian systems of Medicine and Board of ethics and registration of practitioners of Indian systems of medicine to maintain National Register and ethical issues relating to practice under the National Commission for Indian Medicine.
  •  It also proposes a common entrance exam and an exit exam, which all graduates will have to clear to get practicing licenses. Further, a teacher's eligibility test has been proposed in the Bill to assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions.
  •  The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education of Indian medicine sector in lines with the National Medical Commission proposed for setting up for Allopathy system of medicine.
  •  The proposed regulatory structure will enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public. The NCIM will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.


Centre intervenes to curb onion price fall

  •  The Centre on Friday doubled the incentive granted for the export of onions under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) to 10% from 5% as a measure to help farmers, by stabilising the slumping price of the commodity.
  •  To contain the situation, it has been decided by the Government to encourage exports of onions so that the domestic prices stabilise,” the government said, acknowledging the recent fall in the price of the vegetable that has forced farmers to sell below cost.
  •  The Centre had introduced the export incentive at 5% for onions only in July as a measure to help boost price realisation for the growers.
  •  In a separate decision, the Centre also raised the minimum support price (MSP) on 23 Minor Forest Produce (MFP) items including tamarind and wild honey and introduced MSP for 17 new items.
  •  The items whose MSP has been revised include forest produce covered under the scheme that was introduced in 2013-14.
  •  The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved increasing the MSP for fair average quality (FAQ) of “milling copra” to Rs. 9,521 per quintal for the 2019 season, from Rs. 7,511 per quintal in 2018, and the MSP of “ball copra” to Rs. 9,920 per quintal for 2019, from Rs. 7,750 per quintal in 2018.

Centre brings in amendments in CRZ rules

  •  The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday approved the CRZ Notification 2018, streamlining of Coastal Regulation Zone clearances, aimed at enhancing activities in the coastal regions and promoting economic growth while keeping in mind conservation principles of coastal regions.
  •  The move comes in the backdrop of a series of representations received by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change from various coastal States and Union Territories, besides other stakeholders for a comprehensive review of the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 2011.
  •  The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II (The areas that have been developed upto or close to the shoreline) and III (Areas that are relatively undisturbed) have been delegated at the State level.
  •  The notification also permits temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. in beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in NDZ of the CRZ-III areas.
  •  The government said the new notification will “boost tourism in terms of more activities, more infrastructure and more opportunities and will certainly go a long way in creating employment opportunities in various aspects of tourism”.
  •  Also, in order to address pollution in coastal areas, treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ—I B area subject to necessary safeguards. Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation, it said.

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Pak claims CPEC project as a non-military economic one

  •  Pakistan has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a bilateral economic project and has no military dimensions.
  •  Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said this at the weekly media briefing here on Thursday when asked about a U.S. media report that alleged that China had hatched a secret plan to build fighter jets and other military hardware in Pakistan as part of the $60 billion project.
  •  The Islamabad datelined report in the New York Times said Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials were putting the final touches to the secret proposal. China last week dismissed as untrue the report.
  •  Responding to the report, Mr. Faisal said the CPEC was an economic project between Pakistan and China, the Dawn reported. “The CPEC has helped Pakistan improve its economy, particularly energy and infrastructure sectors have improved under it. The CPEC is a bilateral economic project, which is not against any country,” he was quoted as saying by the daily.
  •  All-weather friends and close allies, China and Pakistan have been jointly building the J-17 Thunder, a single seater multi-role combat aircraft. Pakistan has been eyeing a number of new advanced Chinese jets, including the stealth fighter.

Cabinet approves MoU on Science & technology with Cuba and Republic of Korea

  •  The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of two Bilateral Memorandums of Understanding signed between India and Cuba, and India and Korea in the area of Biotechnology. The MoUs were signed on 22nd June 2018 at Havana, Cuba and on 9th July 2018 at New Delhi, respectively.
  •  The MoUs signed with Cuba and Korea respectively, are in the agreed areas of collaboration and objectives in the field of Science & Technology, wherever the expertise in these areas exist in the country.
  •  The MoUs have been signed to strengthen the Indo-Cuba and Indo-Republic of Korea bilateral ties, to work out the future agenda for the collaboration for Innovation in S&T Diplomacy to evolve a concrete strategic plan in the area of biotechnology education, training and research.The proposal has the potential towards employment generation for more than 50 postgraduates and Ph.Ds in biological sciences and related areas for a period of upto five years.
  •  India and Cuba signed a bilateral MoU to deepen collaboration on biotechnology on 22nd June 2018 during the visit of Hon'ble President of India to Havana, Cuba.
  •  India and Korea have signed an MoUin the area ofBiotechnology and Bio-economy. The MoU aims to broaden and deepen cooperation between the two countries in Science & Technology, in the fields of Biotechnology and encouraging industrial R&D and related bilateral investment flows.


Defence ministry launches new web page for Drone Olympics

  •  RakshaMantriSmt Nirmala Sitharaman launched a newly designed web page here today for ‘Drone Olympics’ (, scheduled to be held at Aero India – 2019 at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru. The web page is open for registration of UAV players interested in taking part in the maiden event of the Aero India.
  •  It will not only encourage the UAV manufacturing in the country but also provide an opportunity to the Armed Forces to assess the capabilities that exist in the world. The UAV market is one of the fastest growing fields in the world. Role of UAVs in defence sector is ever-increasing on account of new additionalities being added to them making them fit for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and strike missions.
  •  ‘Drone Olympics’ is open to both Indian and international players. Three categories of the event, planned during the competition are Surveillance Challenge with four sub-categories which willdeterminethe surveillance capability of the UAVs.
  •  Supply Drop Challenge to assess weight dropping capability and Formation Flying Challenge demonstrating different shapes with group of UAVs.The winners will be honoured with medals and a cash prize of Rs. 38 lakhs to top three winners of each competition. Last date of registration to participate in event is January 26, 2019.


India holds Oman for a draw in Asian cup football warm up'

  •  India finished their preparations for the upcoming Asian Cup Football Championship by holding a superior Oman to a goalless draw in their final warm-up game in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
  •  Currently ranked 97th in FIFA charts, India held their own against the 82nd ranked Oman by creating a few chances. Oman had earlier won three games on the trot before Blue Tigers stopped their juggernaut.
  •  Coach Stephen Constantine gave chance to most of his players during the warm-up game which was played closed doors in order to keep cards close to his chest.

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