IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 01 June 2019

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Below normal rainfall likely in northwest, northeast, says IMD 

Topic: GS-I:  Geography

 A week before the onset of the southwest monsoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a “normal” rainy season, with the country as a whole set to receive 96% of the long period average (LPA) rainfall.

More in news:

  • However, northwest India will get 94% of the average, while the northeast will only receive 91% of average rainfall, putting both these regions in the “below normal” category.
  • Issuing its second stage long range forecast on Friday, the IMD said the 2019 monsoon is likely to reach the Kerala coast by June 6.
  • During a “normal” monsoon, the country gets 96% to 104% of the LPA.
  • If the total rainfall is between 90% and 96% of the LPA, it falls in the “below normal” category.
  • Region wise, the season’s rainfall is likely to be 94% of the LPA over northwest India, 100% over central India, 97% over south Peninsula, and 91% over northeast India, all with a model error of ± 8 %, it said.
Some basics:

Long Period Average (LPA).

·         LPA is the average rainfall received by the country as a whole during the south-west monsoon, for a 50-year period.

·         The current LPA is 89 cm, based on the average rainfall over years 1951 and 2000.

·         This acts as a benchmark against which the rainfall in any monsoon season is measured.

The rainfall is categorized as normal, below normal, or above normal.

1)      Normal: When per cent departure of actual rainfall is +/-10% of LPA, that is, between 96-104% of LPA.

2)      Below normal: When departure of actual rainfall is less than 10% of LPA, that is 90-96% of LPA.

3)      Above normal: When actual rainfall is 104-110% of LPA.

4)      Deficient: When departure of actual rainfall is less than 90% of LPA.

5)      Excess: When departure of actual rainfall is more

Scholarship for wards of defence personnel hiked

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

In line with the Prime Minister’s vision for India’s safety, security and the well-being of those who protect the nation, the very first decision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on assuming his office is approval to a major change in the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ under the National Defence Fund.

The Prime Minister has approved the following changes:

  • The rates of scholarship have been increasedfrom Rs. 2000 per month to Rs. 2500 per month for boys and from Rs. 2250 per month to Rs. 3000 per month forgirls.
  • The ambit of the Scholarship Scheme is extended to the wards of State Police officials who are/were martyred during terror/naxal attacks.
  • The quota of new scholarships for wards of state police officials will be 500 in a year.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs will be the nodal Ministry in this regard.

Background:

  • The National Defence Fund (NDF) was set up in 1962 to take charge of the voluntary donations in cash and kind received for promotion of the national defence effort, and to decide on their utilisation.
  • Currently the fund is being used for the welfare of the members of the Armed Forces, Para Military forces and Railway Protection Force, and their dependents.
  • The fund is administered by an Executive Committee with the Prime Minister as the Chairperson and the Defence, Finance and Home Ministers as Members.
  • Under National Defence Fund major scheme of ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSS)’ is being implemented to encourage technical and post-graduate education for the widows and wards of the deceased/ex-service personnel of Armed Forces and Para Military Forces and Railway Protection Force.
  • Scholarships are available for education at technical institutions (medical, dental, veterinary, engineering, MBA, MCA and other equivalent technical professions with suitable AICTE/UGC approval).
  • Under the PMSS, every year new scholarships are given for 5500 wards of armed forces controlled by Ministry of Defence, for 2000 wards of paramilitary forces controlled by Ministry of Home Affairs and for 150 wards of forces controlled by Ministry of Railways.
  • The National Defence Fund accepts online voluntary contributions through the website i.e. gov.in.

U.S. reiterates threat of sanctions over Triumf deal

Topic: GS –II: International relations

India should not assume it will get a waiver from U.S. sanctions if it goes ahead with its purchase of the S-400 Triumf missile shield from Russia, Washington made it clear on Thursday.

  • The purchase could also hamper the future of Indo-U.S. defence relationship, an official said.

$5 billion deal

  • India had committed last October to purchasing a Russian S-400 Triumf long-range missile defence shield for about $5 billion.
  • The deal has run the risk of attracting sanctions from the U.S. under a 2017 law — the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
  • While sanctions can kick in only when payments start being made for the S-400, the U.S. Congress’s annual defence budget authorisation, the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) passed last year, allows the President to grant waivers from CAATSA sanctions under certain conditions and it was for the President to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis.
  • India is currently in discussions to buy various other U.S. defence equipment including combat aircraft and the Sea Guardian drones.

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

  • This punitive act was signed by President Donald Trump in August 2017.
  • It mandates US administration to impose sanctions on any country carrying out significant defence and energy trade with sanctioned entities in North Korea, Iran and Russia.
  • This is an act by the Congress, thus the President of the United States of America doesn’t have too much of authority over it.

PM-KISAN Yojana extended to all farmers

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved that the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri KisanSamman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) would be comprehensively extended.

  • With this decision, all land holding eligible farmer families (subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria) would avail of the benefits under this scheme.
  • The revised Scheme is expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, with an estimated expenditure by Central Government of Rs. 87,217.50 crores for year 2019-20.
  • It may also be noted that certain operational issues like lack of updated land records in Jharkhand and lack of Aadhaar penetration in states of Assam, Meghalaya and J&K have also been resolved.

PM-KISAN:

  • The genesis of the PM-KISAN Yojana dates back to the interim Budget for the year 2019-2020.
  • The key element of PM-KISAN is income support of 6000/- to the small and marginal landholder farmer families with cultivable land holding upto 2 hectare across the country.
  • The amount is being released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs.2000/- each over the year, to be credited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries held in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer mode.
  • The scheme was launched in a record time of 3 weeks, on 24th February at a huge programme in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh where the first rounds of instalments was paid to several farmers.
  • So far, 1stinstalment to 3.11 crore beneficiaries and 2nd instalment to 2.66 crore beneficiaries have been credited directly to the bank accounts of the farmer families.

First House session from June 17, Budget on July 5

Topic: GS –II: Constitution and Polity

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will begin on June 17 and go on till July 26.

  • Nirmala Sitharaman, the country’s first full-time woman Finance Minister, will present the Union Budget on July 5.
  • The first two days of the session will be dedicated to oath-taking of the new members.
  • On July 19, the new Speaker will be elected. With 353 members, the NDA is in a comfortable majority giving it a wide leeway on picking anyone for the post.
  • The House will once again not have a Leader of Opposition, a Cabinet-rank position, since none of the Opposition parties meets the eligibility criterion.

Congress is three short

  • The leader of the largest Opposition party that has not less than one-tenth of the total strength of the House is appointed the Leader of the Opposition.
  • The Lok Sabha has 545 members. So the required number is 55.
  • The Congress, which is the second largest party in the House after the BJP, has only 52 members, three short of the mark.
  • On June 20, the joint session of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha will be addressed by President Ramnath Kovind.
  • The President’s address usually is a window to government policies and development plans ahead.
  • Following the norm, the economic survey will be tabled on July 4, a day ahead of the presentation of the Budget.

E-cigarettes pose public health risk, says ICMR

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice   Health

 The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned of a potential public health disaster if action was not taken to completely prohibit and dissuade the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes given that the nicotine delivered by these devices adversely affect almost all systems in a human body.

More in news:

  • E-cigarette use adversely affects the cardiovascular system, impairs respiratory immune cell function and airways in a way similar to cigarette smoking and is responsible for severe respiratory disease. It also poses risk to foetus, infant, and child brain development, the council noted in a white paper released on Friday.

Harmful effects

  • Use of e-cigarettes has documented adverse effects on humans which include DNA damage; carcinogenesis; cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity; respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders and adverse impact on foetal development and pregnancy.

Urges complete ban

  • There are more than 460 different e-cigarette brands with varying configurations of nicotine delivery available in the market, according to the ICMR.
  • Now, based on the currently available scientific data from multiple streams of research, the ICMR has recommended complete prohibition on ENDS or e-cigarettes in India in the greater interest of protecting public health.
  • With any benefit that e-cigarettes may offer as a tobacco cessation aid yet to be established and evidence suggesting that there were risks of both dual use and the initiation to tobacco addiction among non-smokers, these products, on balance, had a net negative impact on public health.
  • The findings of the ICMR paper run counter to empirical data from countries where e-cigarettes are regulated and research conducted by some of the most credible organisations in the world. This could be because they have cherry-picked studies to make a targeted case against e-cigarettes.

GDP growth slumps to 5.8%

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

India’s GDP grew at 5.8% in the January-March 2019 quarter, dragging down the full year growth to a five-year low of 6.8%. The unemployment rate in the country rose to a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18, as per official data released on the first day of the second term of the Modi government.

More in news:

  • Economic Affairs Secretary said the slowdown, caused by temporary factors such as liquidity crunch, is likely to continue in the April-June 2019 quarter, with the demand picking up from the second quarter onwards.
  • During the year, the slowdown in the economy was led by sluggish growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector (2.9% growth), the mining sector (1.3% growth) and in manufacturing (6.9%).
  • The sectors which saw growth rate of over 7% were public administration, defence and other services, construction, financial, real estate and professional services, and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services.
  • The unemployment data, which was released a day after Prime Narendra Modi took oath for the second term, confirms an earlier leaked version of this survey that claimed that joblessness was at a 45-year high.

NGT raps States for not curbing pollution in Ganga

Topic: GS-III: Environment

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of ₹25 lakh each on the States of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal for not taking adequate steps to curb pollution in the river Ganga.

More in news:

  • A Bench observed that while in Bihar there was no progress in terms of completion of sewage treatment infrastructure projects, in West Bengal only three out of the 22 projects had been completed.
  • The States were directed to deposit the penalty within a month with the Central Pollution Control Board, and the amount “may be spent on restoration of the environment.”
  • Noting that the discharge of effluents is an offence, the green panel directed the Uttar Pradesh government to prohibit industrial activity that resulted in pollution.

Editorial section:

 His new Council –The Hindu

Outlining the first 100 days –The Hindu

A second election –The Hindu

 

 

 

 

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