• Current Affairs , 30th OCTOBER 2019

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    1. Members of European Parliament call on PM
    2. Abrogation of Article 370 is an internal administrative matter: Vice President
    3. Demand of steel in India is expected to increase in the future
    4. Indian Army celebrates infantry day on 27 October
    5. Postal ballot facilities for Absentee voters of essential services, Senior citizens of more than 80 years and marked PwD electors
    6. New guidelines released for peritoneal dialysis services
    7. Uttar Pradesh Emergency service number changes from 100 to ‘Dial 112
    8. Grand Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya set a world record; over 5 lakh 51 thousand Diyas lit
    9. Manohar Lal sworn-in as Haryana CM for 2nd term
    10. Former Gujarat CM Dilip Parikh passes away
    11. IndiGen Genome project
    12. World Day for Audiovisual Heritage
    13. Who are the developing countries in the WTO?
    14. UN Environment Programme (UNEP):” Colombo Declaration”
    15. UWW Under-23 World Championships: Three Indian wrestlers enter quarter-finals on day one

     

     

     

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

     

    1.       Members of European Parliament call on PM

    • Members of European Parliament called on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi.  Prime Minister appreciated the importance the Parliamentarians attach to their relationship with India by visiting right at the beginning of their term.
    • Prime Minister said that India’s relationship with the European Union is based on shared interests and common commitment to democratic values. He said that an early conclusion of a fair and balanced BTIA is a priority for the government.
    • Talking about the need to strengthen engagement with EU on regional and global matters, Prime Minister highlighted the importance of close international cooperation to fight terrorism. He also mentioned about the growth of International Solar Alliance as a global partnership.
    • Prime Minister, while welcoming the delegation to India, expressed the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir. Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region.
    • Prime Minister highlighted the huge jump in India’s position in Ease of Doing Business rankings from 142 in 2014 to 63 currently. He said that this is a massive achievement for a country as enormous in size, demography and diversity as India. Governance systems are today enabling people to move in aspirational direction, he said.
    • Prime Minister also underlined the focus of the government on ensuring Ease of Living for all Indians. He mentioned about the success of key programmes of the Government including Swachh Bharat and Ayushman Bharat. He reiterated India’s commitment to eliminate TB by 2025, five years before the global target. He also talked about steps taken for environment protection and conservation including enhanced renewable energy targets and movement against single use plastics.

     

     

    2.       Abrogation of Article 370 is an internal administrative matter: Vice President

     

    ·        The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today said that the abrogation of Article 370 was an internal matter and that the move to bifurcate the state into two union territories was to ensure the overall development of both Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

    ·        Addressing the delegation of more than 25 members of the European Parliament in New Delhi today, he said that abrogation of Article 370 was a step towards equity and human dignity. Shri Naidu observed that the move would ensure good governance where people enjoy the fruits of freedom rather than be constantly under the fear of the bullet.

    ·        The Vice President said that the proposition was put to vote in the Parliament on 5th and 6th August 2019 and it received Parliament’s unequivocal mandate. “The Lower House voted 80% in favour and in the Upper House, nearly 66% supported the Bill,” he added.

    ·        Stressing that Jammu and Kashmir has been an integral part of India since the acceptance or accession, the Vice President said that the Indian Constitution incorporated a provision under Article 370 according to special status to the State and that it was intended to be a transitory provision from the beginning.

    ·        The Vice President said that the special provisions and their consequences have been reviewed time and again over the last few decades and the Indian Parliament had debated the issue several times.

    ·        He said that it was widely felt that having an enclave within the country was not desirable and was seen as antithetical to an inclusive growth strategy where the country aims to bridge development gaps between states and achieve an equitable growth leaving no state behind.

    ·        Stating that the state was beset with a host of formidable impeding challenges like corruption, lack of accountability and most disturbing of all, growing threat of militancy and cross-border terrorism along with slow development, the Vice President said that the situation in the state after 70 years of Indian independence convinced the policymakers that they could not allow the rapid downslide to continue. He said that the Government, therefore, had to take the best possible steps for preventing any loss of life or property.

    ·        The Vice President said that it was to the credit of the Government that these measures have succeeded in full, as not a single bullet has been fired till date and there has not been any loss of life on account of any police firing.

    ·        He said that the restrictions were only temporary in character and relaxations were being given step by step and stage by stage.

    ·        The Vice President told the delegation that several steps have been taken by the Government to ensure smooth flow of information in the Jammu & Kashmir.

    ·        Talking about the recently held elections to Block Development Councils, he said that 98.3% voter turnout was an indicator for a very peaceful election.

    ·        The Vice President said that India wishes to see a more just, peaceful and responsive world order and that it was building a richly diverse, harmonious, democratic polity to ensure all-round development and inclusive growth.

    ·        Pointing out that India has believed in the principle of peaceful co-existence right from the Vedic times and that it had conceptualized the entire the world as one family, Shri Naidu told the EU delegation that India believes that peace was the pre-requisite for progress and wishes to bring peace to troubled areas, so that people enjoy a better quality of life.

    ·        The Rajya Sabha Chairman also told the visiting Parliamentarians that India was moving towards inclusive development with the Parliament playing the role of a catalyst and a proactive leader in this transformative process.

    ·        He also informed the delegation that India was keen on engaging with the EU on regional and global issues of shared concern and also for reforming the multilateral system and institutions to better reflect contemporary global realities.

     

    1. Demand of steel in India is expected to increase in the future

     

    • The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the demand of  steel  in the country as  seen  substantial  increase  and  is  expected  to increase further in the future as India embarks to become a US $ 5 trillion economy. Addressing the Ministerial Meeting of Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity in Tokyo, Shri Pradhan said India’s demand for Steel shall be a driver of its capacity expansion.
    • “I wish to emphasize that with rapid economic & infrastructural development in India, the demand of  steel  has  seen  substantial  increase  and  is  expected  to increase further in the future as embarks to become a US $ 5 trillion economy by 2024. Furthermore, India is committed to spend about US $ 1.4 trillion on its infrastructure development in the next five years.
    • All this augurs well for the steel demand in the country.  We are determined to raise the per capita consumption of steel from its current low of 72 kg per capita to 160 kg per capita by 2030. India’s demand for steel shall always be the driver of its capacity expansion”, he said.
    • On the issue of the steel excess capacity, Shri Pradhan said that steel sector in India is deregulated and is driven by market forces. As it is well known, India does not contribute or suffer from excess capacity. “We are mindful and conscious of the problems, which  originate  from  excess capacity, and thus respect the principles laid down by this forum.”, he added.
    • On the global situation, the minister said that Steel excess capacity had a devastating effect on the industry globally during the crisis of 2015. After a brief recovery during 2016-18, again, the global steel industry is passing through a difficult phase.
    • Therefore, it is important that we take suitable measures to avoid a repeat of the situation of 2015. He appreciated the members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity for putting forth considerable effort in the process of information sharing and the review thereof.
    • Shri Pradhan said the members’ willingness to share data on capacity and information on various direct and indirect support measures deserves praise. “This is a unique first-time effort. Information sharing has enabled in formulating better response in terms of improvements for the global steel industry. It also improved our ability to understand the problem of global steel excess capacity.” He called for making concerted efforts to ensure that all actions are in line with fair international trade practices.
    • Shri Pradhan said that the Berlin Ministerial recommended that the market distorting subsidies and support measures which distort competition should be identified and removed. It also advised that Governments must not intervene to create such distortions in the market.
    • He mentioned that Transparency, enhanced communication and cooperation are steps in the right direction. Global Forum may address relevant steel-related issues, as economies are linked intrinsically with this sector. “We all have collective responsibility to address the concerns of the steel sector.”, Shri Pradhan added.
    • On the sidelines of the meeting, the Minister met the European Union Head of delegation Ms Sandra Gallina, Deputy Director General of Trade, European commission.

     

    1. Indian Army celebrates infantry day on 27 October

     

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to soldiers on Infantry Day.
    • Infantry Day is observed on October 27.This day marks the landing of first Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 to push back Pakistan supported intruders.
    • Planes carrying Indian troops took off from the Safdarjung airport here to land at Srinagar.
    • Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat paid tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of 73rd Infantry Day . To honour the supreme sacrifice of the infantry in fighting the Pakistani raiders in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, Army celebrated Infantry Day with traditional solemnity and gaiety all across the Northern Command.

     

     

     

    5.       Postal ballot facilities for Absentee voters of essential services, Senior citizens of more than 80 years and marked PwD electors

     

     

    • Election Commission of India has started working on detailed guidelines and SoPs to facilitate the process of postal ballot paper for Absentee voters of essential services, Senior citizens of more than 80 years and marked PwD electors.
    • These guidelines will include the identification of such voters, the manner of outreach, the methods of collection as well as voting in the specified centres in each constituency. The Commission is also taking a number of steps including personal contact under its SVEEP initiatives to make the electors aware of this new facility so that such electors can exercise their voting right in the manner they intend to do.
    • The Commission had made a recommendation to the Union Government (Ministry of Law and Justice) on 2ndSeptember, 2019 and is now in receipt of the requisite notification.
    • It may be recalled that Election Commission has been laying special emphasis to ensure that the electors who are also Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens are facilitated in every way to ensure their wider participation in the electoral process.  One of the standing items in the agenda for review by the Commission of the preparations of various States and UTs for the electoral process is facilitation of these categories besides other similarly placed categories.
    • There are two aspects of this issue viz., the creation of requisite infrastructure and suitable legal framework to facilitate the process.  On the legal side, after studying the needs of those citizens, who are unable to come to the polling stations due to the degree of their disability as well as those who are left out their due to engagements in various capacities in the discharge of essential services e.g., railways, state transports and aviation etc.,  the Commission made the recommendation to Ministry of Law and Justice and on 22 October 2019, the Central Government amended the Rules accordingly.
    • Salient features of these amendments are as follows:
    • A concept of ‘absentee voter’ has been introduced and defined for the elections;
    • ‘absentee voter’ means a person belonging to such class of persons as may be notified, under clause (c) of section 60 of the Act, and who is employed in essential services as mentioned in the said notification, and includes an elector belonging to the class of senior citizenor persons with disability [rule 27 A (aa)];
    • ‘person with disability’ means a person flagged as person with disability in the data base for the electoral roll;
    • ‘senior citizen’ for the purpose of this Part means an elector belonging to the class of absentee voters and is above 80 years of age;
    • In case of an absentee voter, the application shall be made in Form 12D, and shall contain such particulars as specified therein, and shall be duly verified by the Nodal Officer for the absentee voter, other than senior citizen or persons with disability, which shall reach the Returning Officer within five days following the date of notification of election;
    • in the case of absentee voter, postal ballot paper shall be returned to the centre provided for recording of voteunder sub-rule(3) of rule 27F, subject to any direction that may be issued by the Election Commission in this behalf.
    • These two categories of voters- senior citizen of more than 80 years of age and PwD electors marked in the electoral roll –will have now choice of voting either as absentee voter or as a regular voter on the poll day. If any of the electors belonging to these categories intends to vote early, then as per the amended Rule 27 C of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, he/she shall make an application in a new Form 12 D, which shall reach the Returning Officer within 5 days following the date of notification of election. After the receipt of such application, the elector will be issued a postal ballot paper, which shall be deposited in the specified centre after recording of vote.
    • The Election Commission is committed to ensure the ease of voting to all such categories of electors. With this new initiative, the Commission is sure that the senior citizens of more than 80 years of age and the PwD electors will have the choice of exercising their right to franchise from their homes. However, such voters have both the choices available either voting through postal ballot by following due procedure or going to the polling station on polling day for voting to exercise their electoral rights in the largest democracy in the world.

     

    1. New guidelines released for peritoneal dialysis services

     

    • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has come out with a set of guidelines for establishing peritoneal dialysis services underthe Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme.
    • The new guidelines, among other things, envisage providing training to community health workers to provide support to persons on peritoneal dialysis at home or in primary health care settings.
    • The guidelines aim to serve as a comprehensive manual to states that intend to set up peritoneal dialysis services and for providers of peritoneal dialysis as a `best practice’ document to ensure delivery of high quality and cost effective services.
    • It also aims to achieve equity in patient access to home-based peritoneal dialysis, reduce the overall cost of care to the system by focusing on efficient leveraging of resources, and bring in consistency of practice, pricing and a full range of product availability.
    • During peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid (dialysate) is circulated through a tube (catheter) inside a part of the abdominal cavity (peritonealcavity).
    • The dialysate absorbs waste products from blood vessels in the abdominal lining (peritoneum) and then is drawn back out of the body and discarded.
    • Rolled out in 2016 as part of the National Health Mission(NHM)for provision of free dialysis services to the poor.
    • The Guidelines for Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme envisage provision of dialysis services under NHM in PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode.
    • Every year about 2.2 Lakh new patients of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) get added in India resulting in additional demand for 3.4 Crore dialysis every year.
    • With approximately 4950 dialysis centres, largely in the private sector in India, the demand is less than half met with existing infrastructure.
    • Since every Dialysis has an additional expenditure tag of about Rs.2000, it results in a monthly expenditure for patients to the tune of Rs.3-4 Lakhs annually.
    • Besides, most families have to undertake frequent trips, and often over long distances to access dialysis services incurring heavy travel costs and loss of wages for the patient and family members accompanying the patient.
    • This therefore leads to financial catastrophe for practically all families with such patients.
    • It has been felt that both in terms of provision of this important life saving procedure and also for reducing impoverishment on account of out of pocket expenditure for patients, a Dialysis program is required.

     

    1. Uttar Pradesh Emergency service number changes from 100 to ‘Dial 112

     

    • In Uttar Pradesh, the traditional emergency service number Dial 100 is replaced by 112.
    • Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched the services of new number – 112, in a ceremonial function at Lucknow.
    • The new single helpline number 112 is an integration of all immediate assistance including police, fire, women helpline and ambulance.
    • Several states and Union territories have already adopted a single emergency helpline number ‘112’.
    • Dial 100 will also continue working and gradually it will die down when people become aware of the new number.

     

    1. Grand Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya set a world record; over 5 lakh 51 thousand Diyas lit

     

     

    • In Uttar Pradesh, Grand Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya have set a world record as over 5 lakh 51 thousand earthen lamps or Diyas.
    • The Diyas were lit on the banks of the holy river Saryu and other places in Ayodhya town. This is the third consecutive year of Deepotsav in Ramnagari.
    • Last year more than 3 lakh earthen lamps were lit at Saryu river in Ayodhya. The state government has given this Ayodhya Deepotsav the status of a State Fair. Hence the whole management and expenses on Deepotsav are borne by the state government.

     

    1. Manohar Lal sworn-in as Haryana CM for 2nd term

     

    • Senior BJP leader Manohar Lal has been sworn-in as Chief Minister of Haryana.
    • Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya administered him the oath of office and secrecy at a function at Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh.
    • This is the second consecutive term for Manohar Lal as Chief Minister. Jannayak Janta Party leader Dushyant Chautala was sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister.
    • In the 90-member assembly, the BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 40 seats. JJP has won 10 seats and independent 7.

     

     

    1. Former Gujarat CM Dilip Parikh passes away

     

    • Former Gujarat Chief Minister Dilip Parikh passed away.
    • He served as the 13th Chief Minister of Gujarat during 1997-98 when he was with Rashtriya Janata Party – RJP.
    • Parikh started his political career as a BJP MLA.
    • An industrialist by profession, he also served as President of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

     

    1. IndiGen Genome project

     

    • Details of the IndiGen Genome project, conducted by CSIR,were recently announced.
    • The initiative was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), 
    • The outcomes of the IndiGen will have applications in a number of areas including predictive and preventive medicine with faster and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.
    • The data will be important for building the knowhow, baseline data and indigenous capacity in the emerging area of Precision Medicine.
    • IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
    • The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.
    • Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, it opened a fresh perspective on the link between disease and the unique genetic make-up of each individual.
    • Nearly 10,000 diseases — including cystic fibrosis, thalassemia — are known to be the result of a single gene malfunctioning.
    • While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

     

     

    1. World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

     

    • The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage takes place every 27 October.
    • This commemorative day was chosen by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2005 to raise awareness of the significance and preservation risks of recorded sound and audiovisual documents.
    • The theme for World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2019 is “Engage the Past Through Sound and Images”.
    • The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage takes place every 27 October. This commemorative day was chosen by UNESCO(the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2005 to raise awareness of the significance and preservation risks of recorded sound and audiovisual documents (films, sound and video recordings, radio and television programmes). Events are held in many countries, organised by national and regional sound and film archives, broadcasters, museums and libraries, and major audiovisual associations including the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), International Council on Archives (ICA), International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) and International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF)).[6] and the International Federation of Television Archives FIAT/IFTA www.fiatifta.org

     

    1. Who are the developing countries in the WTO?

     

    • South Korea has said that it will no longer seek special treatment reserved for developing countriesby the World Trade Organization in future negotiations given its enhanced global economic status.
    • South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy,has maintained its developing country status as a member of the WTO since the body’s creation in 1995, mainly to guard its agriculture industry.
    • There are no WTO definitions of “developed” and “developing” countries.Members announce for themselves whether they are “developed” or “developing” countries.
    • However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.
    • Developing country status in the WTO brings certain rights. Developing country status ensures special and differential treatment (S&DT) or provisions which allow them more time to implement agreements and commitments, include measures to increase trading opportunities, safeguard their trade interests, and support to build capacity to handle disputes and implement technical standards.
    • For sometime now, developed countries, mainly the US, have been asking the WTO to end the benefits being given to developing countries. Nearly two-thirds of the members of the World Trade Organization(WTO)have been able to avail themselves of special treatment and to take on weaker commitments under the WTO framework by designating themselves as developing countries.

     

    1. UN Environment Programme (UNEP):” Colombo Declaration

     

    • UN Environment Programme (UNEP)member states recently adopted the “Colombo Declaration” which calls for tackling global nitrogen challenge.
    • The Colombo Declaration has been developed with the technical support of the International Nitrogen Management System (INMS), a joint activity of the UNEPand the International Nitrogen Initiative supported by the Global Environmental Facility.
    • The aim is to halve nitrogen waste by 2030.
    • A campaign on sustainable nitrogen management called “Nitrogen for Life”is to be launched. It stems from the Sustainable Nitrogen Management Resolution which was adopted during the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly held from 11 – 15 March 2019 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
    • The Declaration calls upon UN agencies, other international organizations, development partners, philanthropic agencies, academic and civil society organizations to support its implementation.
    • It also urges countries to conduct a comprehensive assessment on nitrogen cycling covering policy, implementation, regulation, and scientific aspects at a national level plus sensitize the citizens to understand the natural nitrogen cycle and how human impacts alter its balance.
    • While a critical element for building structures of living organisms and an essential element for the survival of all living things, nitrogen overuse has negative impacts on the planet, biodiversity and is a contributor to the climate crisis.
    • Nitrogen is an inert gas that’s necessary for life. But we’re changing it into forms that are harmful, overloading the environment with it, and throwing the natural nitrogen cycle out of whack.
    • Nitrogen compounds running off farmland have led to water pollution problems around the world, while nitrogen emissions from industry, agriculture and vehicles make a big contribution to air pollution.
    • Over 80% of the nitrogen in soil is not utilised by humans.While over four-fifths of the nitrogen is used to feed livestock, only about six per cent reaches humans in case of non-vegetarian diet, as compared to the 20% that reaches the plate of a vegetarian.
    • Nitrogen becomes a pollutant when it escapes into the environment and reacts with other organic compounds.It is either released into the atmosphere, gets dissolved in water sources such as rivers, lakes or groundwater, or remains in the soil. While it might lead to favourable growth of species that can utilise this nutrient, nitrogen as a pollutant is often detrimental to the environment and health.
    • According to the World Health Organization, nitrate-contaminated drinking water can cause reduced blood function, cancer and endemic goiters. Surplus inputs of nitrogen compounds have been found to cause soil acidification. The lowering pH, as a result of the acidification, can lead to nutrient disorders and increased toxicity in plants. It may also affect natural soil decomposition.

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

    15.  UWW Under-23 World Championships: Three Indian wrestlers enter quarter-finals on day one

     

    wrestling

    • India’s Veer Dev Gulia entered the semi-finals of Under-23 World Championships in Budapest on day 1.
    • 22-year-old Gulia wrestled brilliantly to defeat DAMJIN Batzul of Mongolia in 79 kg Freestyle category.
    • Gulia won the one-sided bout against the Mongolian by 11-1.
    • The 2017 Junior World Championship bronze medallist Gulia will be up against Abubakr Abakarov of Azerbaijan in the Semi-Finals.
    • Earlier, India’s Sharvan dished out absolutely brilliant performance in the 65 kg weight category to defeat Rifat Saibotalov of Kazakhstan. Sharvan gave a display of very attacking wrestling to defeat the Kazakh 8-6 and book his place in the quarterfinals of U23 World Wrestling championships. In the last 16 bout, Akash Antil easily dismantled Li Xu from China 10-0 in 97 kg category. Antil will play his quarterfinal bout against Danylo Stasiuk of Ukraine.

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