Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 13 March 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 13 March 2016


PM says India proves democracy and high growth can go together

  • Taking a swipe at China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India’s growth rate of over seven per cent was being achieved in a country that is also a vibrant democracy.

  • Speaking at the Advancing Asia conference here, he said India dispelled the myth that democracy and rapid economic growth could not go together.

  • India’s rapid economic growth, he said, was also very distinct in Asia, as the country had never tried to gain in trade at the expense of partners, never undervalued its exchange rate; it rather added to the world and Asian demand by running current account deficits.

  • The IMF recently included China’s yuan into its reserve currency basket.

  • Amid global problems, Mr. Modi said, India was a haven of macro-economic stability.

  • In a difficult external environment and despite a second successive year of weak rainfall, India has increased growth rate to 7.6 per cent, the highest among major economies in the world.

  • India and the IMF also announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for establishing the South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Centre.

  • It is expected to become the focal point for planning, coordinating, and implementing the IMF’s capacity-development activities in the region.

Some good news for Indian students applying for US visa

  • After all the negativity associated with US education in the recent months, here is some good news for Indian students.

  • The US government has made certain changes to non-immigrant visas that will now allow the eligible students to obtain the Optional Practical Training (OPT) for three years.

  • However, the facility will be extended only to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students who secure their degrees from accredited institutes and the companies that are part of the E-verify programme.

  • Since most Indian students enrol in these courses, the new norms may work to their advantage despite the stringent norms attached to the changes.

  • The new rule also says that STEM-OPT students should not replace any American worker, temporary or permanent and the salary offered to the OPT students should be similar to the American workers.

  • Students who prefer good institutes in the US will gain while those from non-accredited institutions will not gain from the new rules.

  • Another positive note may be that OPT students will get more time to apply for the H1B visas that are capped at 65,000 every year in addition to the 20,000 meant for US-educated students.

Kerala secures top ranking in public affairs index (Register and Login to read Full News..)

RSS think tank wants education and health should be prioritise (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: International ::

US president wants mobile data to accessible to government

  • President Barack Obama has made a passionate case for mobile devices to be built in a way that will allow the government to access personal data if needed to prevent a terror attack or enforce tax laws.

  • The President said he could not comment on the legal case in which the FBI is trying to force Apple to allow access to an iPhone linked to San Bernardino, California, shooter Rizwan Farook.

  • But he made clear that despite his commitment to Americans' privacy and civil liberties, a balance was needed to allow some government intrusion if necessary.

  • Last month, the FBI obtained a court order requiring Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to Farook's iPhone.

UN to probe South Sudan attack (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: Business and Economy ::

Government planning to provide PF to contractual labours as well

  • The government has decided to get tough with large employers who increasingly rely on contract workers often without paying them their statutory dues such as employees’ provident fund contribution.

  • As part of the plan, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EFPO) has asked all the public sector firms to upload on their websites the details of project contracts awarded to various agencies in a bid to ensure contract workers get provident fund benefits.

  • Central PF Commissioner V.P. Joy, who recently took charge of the Rs. 10 lakh crore retirement fund body, is expected to send a similar directive to 4,700 private companies employing over 1,000 workers each.

  • The Contract Labour Act requires employers to pay equal pay and benefits for work done by contract employees that is similar to regular employees’ role.

  • But its implementation has been weak and attempts to bring in a stronger law have been thwarted as government agencies and public sector units also deploy a large number of contract employees and are reluctant to pay them more.

  • EPFO is looking to make public as well as private sector companies, which are the principal employers of contract workers, accountable for providing PF benefits.

  • The public sector companies will have to register the details of all contract employers of each project on EPFO’s website.

Central Bank Governor says exchange rate is at right place (Register and Login to read Full News..)

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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