Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 30 December 2019


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 30 December 2019


::NATIONAL::

Centre holds discussions with judiciary over judges appointment

  • There seems to be attempts to thaw the impasse over the appointment of judges to constitutional courts, with the highest echelons of the government and judiciary meeting earlier this week to discuss an issue that the Supreme Court has time and again raised concerns about.

  • Details related to the names recommended by high court or Supreme Court collegiums but were still pending with the government were shared during the meeting, sources said.

  • Earlier, this month, the Supreme Court had expressed concerns over long delays in the appointment of judges to high courts.

  • The top court had also sought the status of at least 213 cases that it believed were pending with the government for appointment to high courts. However, sources said only around 35 cases were pending with the central government.

  • The law ministry, on the basis of any fresh material against a candidate, can request the collegium to reconsider its recommendation. However, if the collegium reiterates the name, the government is bound to clear the appointment.

  • There is, however, no prescribed time frame to clear and notify the appointments, thereby giving the government a ‘pocket veto’ to stall appointments.

NITI Aayog to launch second edition of SDG

  • NITI Aayog will launch the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index in New Delhi today. The Index documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.

  • NITI Aayog will also launch the Dashboard 2019-20. The SDG India Index and Dashboard track the progress of States and rank all States and Union Territories on 100 indicators drawn from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation's National Indicator Framework, comprising 306 indicators.

  • It indicates where the country and its States and UTs currently are on SDG implementation. It also charts the distance to be travelled to reach the SDG targets.

  • The Index covers 16 out of 17 SDGs and a qualitative assessment on Goal 17.This marks an improvement over the 2018 SDG Index, which covered only 13 goals.

::ECONOMY::

Reports suggest India likely to become fourth largest economy in 2026

  • India will overtake Germany to become fourth-largest economy in the world by the year 2026. According to a report by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), India is all set to overtake Japan to become the third-largest economy by 2034.

  • The report titled 'World Economic League Table 2020' said that India is also set to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2026, 2 years later than the government's target of 2024.

  • India has decisively overtaken both France and the UK to become the world's fifth-largest economy in 2019. The report said that Japan, Germany and India will battle for third position over the next 15 years.

  • The World Economic League Table is an annual calculation by CEBR jointly published by CEBR and Global Construction Perspectives. The base data for 2019 is taken from the IMF World Economic Outlook.

RBI criticizes rating agencies for inaccurate rating of companies

  • Reserve Bank of India has criticised credit rating agencies (CRAs) for allowing low-rated companies to do "rating shopping".

  • In the 25th edition of the Financial Stability Report, RBI has warned of 'rating shopping' by companies for long-term bank loans based on indicative ratings given by CRAs which are not available to the banks or investors.

  • Rating agencies have been largely blamed for their lax policies and oversight for the 2008 global financial crisis.

  • Securities and Exchange Board of India last Friday penalised Icra, Care and India Ratings of 25 lakh rupees each for their "lapses in their duty to investors by not taking timely action" when they rated NCDs of IL&FS which owes close to one lakh crore rupees to the system.

  • SEBI also found the agencies guilty of excessively relying on assertions of the IL&FS management.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India begins tunnel work at Chinese border

  • The construction of tunnels near India’s borders with China and Pakistan has picked up pace. India has issued a global tender for the construction of a state of the art tunnel under the Brahmaputra in Assam, quickened the pace of work on three other tunnels near the border with China, and plans to build six tunnels near the Pakistan border.

  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which is handling this matter, has issued a global tender for the construction of a tunnel under the Brahmaputra River in Assam, while it has also begun the excavation of a tunnel under the Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh, top officials said.

  • Work on another tunnel in Nechiphu, also in Arunachal Pradesh, which will shorten the travel time to Tawang, will begin soon.

  • The new tunnels that are being planned for India’s western front are at Sadhna Pass (a mountain pass connecting Karnah tehsil of Kupwara to rest of Kashmir valley) and PharkianGalli (in Kupwara) in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The reason behind the government contemplating on having a tunnel under the Brahmaputra is that the strategic bridges connecting different areas in Assam to Arunachal Pradeshand further ahead to regions along the LAC are vulnerable to interference by the adversary. The tunnel, however, would be unexposed and ensure complete protection to military convoys moving in it.

Dubai plans record spending to revive flagging economy

  • Dubai unveiled a 2020 budget on Sunday projecting record spending of USD 18.1 billion, up 17 percent on this year, as it seeks to revive its flagging economy.

  • The Gulf city state expects revenues too to rise sharply next year as it hosts Expo 2020, the global six-month trade fair set to open on October 20.But it still foresees a deficit for the fourth year in a row of USD 700 million.

  • The government is hoping that Expo will draw some 25 million visitors, many of them from abroad, and is projecting a 25 percent increase in revenues to USD 17.4 billion.

  • Dubai is the only government in the Gulf not dependent on hydrocarbon revenues, and projects around 94 percent of income to come from non-oil sources.

  • Dubai is renowned for its skyscrapers, like the world's tallestbuilding BurjKhalifa, but its key property sector has been sliding since 2014.

  • Last year, growth slowed to 1.94 percent, less half the 2017 figure and the worst in a decade.It picked up slightly to 2.1 percent in the first half of this year but the government is keen to do more to stimulate consumer spending and the real estate market.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Last Squadron of MiG-27 decommissioned

  • The MiG-27, which is known to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as the ‘Flogger’ and to Indian Air Force (IAF) as ‘Bahadur’, flew its last sortie in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

  • After this flight, IAF bid adieu to its squadron of seven aircraft as all were decommissioned. The last MiG-27 unit to operate the jet, Number 29 Squadron, bid farewell to jet in Jodhpur Air Base where the aircraft participated in a flypast.

  • For 35 years, MiG-27, a curiously designed fighter-bomber has been at forefront of IAF’s attack fleet. However, while MiG-27 had been backbone of IAFfor the past three decades, the jets were also infamous for routine accidents throughout their career with Indian Air Force.

  • In three decades plus of operations, at least a squadron’s strength (18 aircraft) are thought to have been lost with several fatal injuries to pilots.

  • The Squadron was raised on 10 March 1958, at Air Force Station Halwara with Ouragan (Toofani) aircraft. Over the years, Squadron has been equipped with numerous types of fighters like MiG-21 Type 77, MiG-21 Type 96, MiG-27 ML and MiG-27 upgrade. It is the only unit in IAF operating MiG-27 upgrades.

  • The upgraded version has also participated in numerous national and international exercises, because of its survivability.

::SPORTS::

Koneru Humpy is women’s world rapid chess champion

  • Indian grandmaster Koneru Humpy has become the 2019 Women's World Rapid Champion. She defeated China's Lei Tingjie in a dramatic final in Moscow, Russia.

  • After losing the opening game, Humpy made an impressive comeback and collected nine points each in 12 rounds to be tied with Tingjie. The duo then played a fierce game to break the deadlock. Tingjie finished with a silver, while Turkey's Ekaterina Atalik won bronze.

  • This is a significant triumph for Humpy who is India’s best-ever women’s chess player. She is more at ease in the classical format and was clearly trying to take her skills in the rapid format to a new level. Norway's Magnus Carlsen claimed the men's title.

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