National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 13th April 2019

Jallianwala Bagh incident

Topic: Modern Indian History

In News: British Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated the UK government’s long-standing expression of ‘deep regret’ over the April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre and called the massacre a ‘shameful scar’ on British Indian history. However, she did not issue any formal apology.

More on the Topic:

  • Gandhiji gave a call for a mighty hartal on 6 April 1919.The people responded with unprecedented enthusiasm.
  • The Government decided to meet the popular protest with repression, particularly in the Punjab.
  • An unarmed but large crowd had gathered on 13 April 1919 at Jallianwalla Bagh to protest against the arrest of their popular leaders, Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal.
  • Jallianwala Bagh (located in Amritsar, Punjab) was a large open space which was enclosed on three sides by buildings and had only one exit.
  • General Dyer surrounded the Bagh (garden) with his army until closed the exit with his troops, and then ordered his men to shoot onto the trapped crowd.
  • They fired till their ammunition was exhausted.Thousands were killed and wounded.
  • After this massacre, martial law was proclaimed throughout the Punjab and the people were submitted to most uncivilized atrocities.

Source: The Hindu

More bank mergers can spur efficiency, RBI

Topic: Indian Economy

In News: More consolidation in India’s struggling banking sector will help lenders lower costs and efficiently scale their operations, said researchers at the Reserve Bank of India in the recently released report.

More on the Topic:

  • State-run banks fared better than private rivals on this metric because they slowed hiring and adopted technology, while larger banks reaped the benefits of scale.
  • This finding provides an additional rationale for recent mergers of banks, both amongst public and private sector banks, and suggests that further avenues of consolidation in the banking sphere may be explored.
  • Mergers and bailouts have become a key policy tool in India, as lenders try to clean up one of the world’s biggest piles of bad loans after a credit spree went sour.
  • State-run Bank of Baroda became the third-largest lender after it was merged with Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank The Life Insurance Corporation of India, has also taken over IDBI Bank Ltd. as authorities threw a lifeline to the struggling lender.
  • The overhang of bad debts is driving up the cost of capital and pushing the central bank, which is also the banking regulator, and the government, which owns state-run banks, to opt for mergers.

Pros of  Consolidation of Banks:

  • Global Competitiveness: Hampered by the fragmented nature of the banking industry, Indian banks are not able to compete globally in terms of fund mobilisation, credit disbursal, investment and rendering of financial services. The balance sheets of top 10 Indian banks suggest the greater scope of consolidation to reap the benefits of large sized globally competitive Indian banks
  • Merger will increase Capital efficiency: Consolidation will also increase capital efficiency. Merged entity will have more leg room to raise capital.
  • Would decrease NPA: At a time when NPAs are high, and banks are putting more effort in recovery, the ability to recover by smaller number of banks will be higher though a individual bank’s exposure may go up. With consolidation the recovery will be far more focused. Thus consolidation could decrease NPA in India.

Source: The Hindu

EC bans release of biopics

Topic: Governance

In News: The Election Commission of India has banned the release of any biopic, including a film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

More on the topic:

  • Election commission ruled that any poster or publicity material concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate for the furtherance of electoral prospect, directly or indirectly, shall not be put to display in print media, without the prescribed instructions of pre-certification in the area where MCC is in operation.
  • Any cinematograph material, certified by the appropriate authority, if there exists such a violation or on receipt of complains in this regard, shall be examined by a committee duly constituted by the commission, which will then suggest appropriate action. The committee would be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or retired Chief Justice of any High Court.

What the constitution says:

  • Under Article 324 of the constitution, superintendence, directions and control of elections are bestowed upon the commission and it is its main duty to take necessary measures to create a level playing field and provide a conducive electoral environment to all the stakeholders.
  • According to the commission, Political contents such as biopic pose a serious threat to the level playing field, as they may create an impression of the truthfulness of such content being shown through television, cinema, internet-based entertainment programmes or the social media.

Source: The Hindu

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Topic: Important Organisation in News

In News: International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has launched new rules to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports for national governments.

More on the Topic:

  • The rules will reduce the administrative burden and increasing the efficiency of maritime trade and transport.
  • The rule seeks to make cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient, for the more than 10 billion tonnes of goods which are traded by sea annually across the globe.
  • The requirement, mandatory under IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), is part of a package of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016.
  • The Facilitation Convention encourages use of a “single window” for data, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal, without duplication.

About IMO:

  • The International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
  • The IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
  • IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly.

Source:The Hindu

World Bank report on remittances

Topic: Reports in news

In News: World Bank has released its Migration and Development Brief.

More on the Topic

  • India is positioned as the world’s top recipient of remittances with its diaspora sending USD 79 billion back home in 2018. The remittances in 2018 grew by over 14 percent in India.
  • India managed to retain its top spot in remittances by registering a significant flow of remittances from USD 62.7 billion in 2016 to USD 65.3 billion 2017 and to USD 79 billion in 2018, a significant growth over the last three years.
  • Natural disasters like Kerala floods likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to their families.

Global Scenario

  • The remittances to low-and middle-income countries reached a record high of USD 529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent from USD 483 billion in 2017.
  • Global remittances, including flows to high-income countries, reached USD 689 billion in 2018, up from USD 633 billion in 2017.
  • The overall increase in remittances regionally was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and outward flows from few Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation.

Source:PIB

CRISPR Technology

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: For the first time, four lizards have been genetically modified using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool.

More on the Topic:

  • Researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA) were able to target the pigmentation genes of Anolis sagrei lizards to create four albino offspring.
  • The team specifically targeted the tyrosinase gene and successfully injected the gene editing solution into 146 oocytes.
  • Albinism is a trait inherited from both parents and in this study, the researchers found that the CRISPR protein targeted the tyrosinase protein from both the mother and father of the offspring which means that the CRISPR solution was active long after fertilization.

About Gene Editing:

  • Genes contain the bio-information that defines any individual. Physical attributes like height, skin or hair colour, more subtle features and even behavioural traits can be attributed to information encoded in the genetic material.
  • An ability to alter this information gives scientists the power to control some of these features. Gene “editing”,sometimes expressed in related, but not always equivalent, terms like genetic modification, genetic manipulation or genetic engineering.

CRISPR-Cas9:

  • CRISPR technology is basically a gene-editing technology that can be used for the purpose of altering genetic expression or changing the genome of an organism. The technology can be used for targeting specific stretches of an entire genetic code or editing the DNA at particular locations.

Source: Businessline

 

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