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

Retail inflation cools further

1

Topic: Indian Economy

In News: According to government data retail inflation declined marginally to 2.05% in January over the previous month on continued decline in food prices, including vegetables and eggs.

More on the topic:

  • The data released by the Central Statistics Office further said the inflation in the ‘fuel and light’ category also fell to 2.2% in January this year from 4.54% in December 2018.

What is Inflation:

  • Inflation is a quantitative measure of the rate at which the average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy increases over a period of time.
  • Often expressed as a percentage, inflation indicates a decrease in the purchasing power of a nation’s currency.
  • As prices rise, they start to impact the general cost of living for the common public and the appropriate monetary authority of the country, like the central bank, then takes the necessary measures to keep inflation within permissible limits and keep the economy running smoothly.

Is Inflation Always Bad:

  • Inflation is both good and bad, depending upon which side one takes.
  • For example, individuals with tangible assets, like property or stocked commodities, may like to see some inflation as that raises the value of their assets which they can sell at a higher rate. However, the buyers of such assets may not be happy with inflation, as they will be required to shell out more money.
  • People holding cash may also not like inflation, as it erodes the value of their cash holdings. Inflation promotes investments, both by businesses in projects and by individuals in stocks of companies, as they expect better returns than inflation.

Source: The Hindu

India, Maldives reverse visa stand-off

2

Topic: International Relations

In News: India and Maldives exchanged an agreement to facilitate visas for travel between the two countries in a number of categories, easing a bilateral stand-off which had resulted in thousands of Indian job seekers being denied work permits last year.

More on the Topic:

  • This Agreement provides a very liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education & medical purposes. It also makes it easier for Indians to travel to Maldives for business purposes.
  • Under the agreement, the government will free up the visa regime for Maldives citizens who travel to India for medical reasons and for education in particular. This will include allowing Maldives citizens who receive a visa on arrival in India to change their visa status to medical visas if they require hospitalisation during their stay.
  • Medical visas will also be granted to attendants to accompany patients. The government has also agreed to grant visas for parents and other dependents to live in India while their children attend school here.
  • The facilitation has been a long pending demand of the Maldives government, given the difficulties faced by thousands of short term visa applicants each year.

Significance:

  • The agreement will ease visas on arrival for Indian businessmen, and bring cheer to Indians applying for work in the Maldives, as it stipulates that work permits will be issued within 15 days to Indian employees, and the visa fees will be paid by employers in the Maldives.

Model Mains Question: Discuss India Maldives relations in light of China’s growing influence on the island country.

Source: The Hindu

Iranian Revolution

3

Topic: World History

In News: This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. It is time, therefore, to evaluate the fundamental lessons of the revolution.

More on the Topic:

  • The Iranian Revolution (aka Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution) refers to events involving the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was supported by the United States, and eventual replacement of 2,500 years of continuous Persian monarchy with an Islamic Republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, supported by various Islamist and leftist organizations and student movements.

Lessons from the revolution:

  • The most important lesson of the revolution and its aftermath is the demonstration of Iran’s remarkable staying power as a state and a nation in the face of a very hostile international milieu.
  • Iran has confronted unprecedented economic sanctions since the revolution, a process that intensified in the past decade and a half to force Tehran to give up its presumed nuclear aspirations.
  • The Iranian people put up with grave hardship for four decades but did not surrender their national sovereignty.
  • This is because the state of Iran/Persia has been in existence almost since time immemorial, and in its present contours from the early 16th century, its citizens have developed a sense of innate pride and confidence in the state’s staying power against the heaviest odds.
  • The development of Persian nationalism has been a gradual process that, one can argue, culminated in the underlying thrust of the revolution.

Source: The Hindu

Dan David Prize 2019

4

Topic: Awards and Honours

In News: Indian historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam on February 10, 2019 won the prestigious Dan David Prize 2019 for his work on inter-cultural encounters between Asians, Europeans and people of North and South America during the early modern era.

More on the Topic:

  • He won the Israel’s prestigious USD 1 million dollar award in the category of ”Past Time Dimension” for his work in macro history. He shared the award in the Past category with Professor Kenneth Pomeranz of University of Chicago.

About Dan David Prize:

  • The Dan David Prize is awarded annually to those who have made outstanding scientific, technological and humanistic accomplishments in fields representing the past, present and future of human achievement.
  • This USD 1 million prize is endowed by the Dan David Foundation, headquartered at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  • The prize was established by late Dan David, an international businessman and philanthropist who envisioned a project that would extend beyond traditional academic categorisations.
  • Three Dan David prizes are given every year in the categories of Past, Present and Future to people around the world who have made outstanding contributions to humanity in the sciences.
  • The recipients in the ‘Past’ category are generally drawn from the field of history, archaeology, paleontology, biography, etc.

Source:The Hindu

Defense Innovation Hub

5

Topic: Economy

In News: Nashik in Maharashtra will be the site of the country’s second defence innovation hub after Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu .

More on the topic:

  • The defense innovation hub at Nashik will help local industries and entrepreneurs and further the Centre’s Make in India push in the country’s defence sector.
  • The Ministry of Defence had set a target of making the country among the top five arms exporters by 2025.

Make In India:

  • Make in India, a type of Swadeshi movement covering 25 sectors of the economy,was launched by the Government of India on 25 September 2014 to encourage companies to manufacture their products in India and enthuse with dedicated investments into manufacturing.
  • As a strategy it is the road map to respond to glocal (global + local) challenges through preparations for a World class manufacturing status & knowledge infrastructure that should create further knowledge for stepping on to global competitiveness.

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)

  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) launched by the Governmentin April 2018, primarily aims at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes & academia, and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
  • iDEX will be funded and managed by a ‘Defence Innovation Organization (DIO)’ which has been formed as a ‘not for profit’ company as per Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 for this purpose, by the two founder members i.e. Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) – HAL & BEL.iDEX will function as the executive arm of DIO, carrying out all the required activities while DIO will provide high level policy guidance to iDEX.

Model Mains Question: Analyze the importance of ease of doing business in the success of Make in India initiative?

Source: The Hindu

Helina Missile

6

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: India recently test-fired its helicopter-launched version of NAG anti-tank guided missile, HELINA. It is indigenously designed and built by DRDO.

More on the Topic:

  • Helina has a hit range of 7-8 km can be launched from army chopper.
  • It is guided by an infrared imaging seeker (IIR) operating in the lock-on before-launch mode and helps in further strengthening the defense capabilities of the country.
  • It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world.

Source: The Hindu

Steps taken by India to combat climate change

7

Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The Centre released a publication titled ‘India – Spearheading Climate Solutions’ highlighting actions taken by the country to combat climate change.

More on the Topic:

  • The initiatives captured in this publication are a reflection of the government’s commitment towards addressing climate change concerns while keeping a fine balance with the sustainable development priorities.
  • The ambitious goal of generating 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, smart cities, electric vehicles, energy efficiency initiatives, leapfrogging from Bharat Stage -IV to Bharat Stage-VI emission norms by April 2020 have been undertaken proactively to minimise the impact of climate change.
  • A number of new policies and initiatives in various sectors like e-mobility, green transportation, renewable energy, waste management, afforestation, water, etc., have also been introduced to minimise the impact of climate change.
  • India recently submitted its Second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which said that the emission intensity of India’s GDP came down by 21 per cent between 2005 and 2014 and India’s achievement of climate goal for pre-2020 period is on track.

Source: The Hindu

 

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