OAS Prelims-2019 Current Affairs: January 2019

Gita Gopinath
  1. Parliaments approves reservation bill for EWS of General Category
  2. World Bank releases Global Economic Prospect Report
  3. Global Report on Trafficking in persons 2018
  4. Bharat Ratna 2019
  5. Sikkim Introduced Universal Basic Income
  6. CM Launches Ama Ghare LED
  7. Macedonia renamed as the Republic of Northern Macedonia
  8. Rio de Janeiro named as first World Capital of Architecture for 2020
  9. Palestine takes over Chairmanship of G77
  10. Gita Gopinath becomes the first female chief economist of IMF
  11. Vinesh Phogal becomes first Indian to be nominated for Laureus World Sports Award
  12. Mary Kom becomes World No. 1 in AIBA world rankings
  13. Government launches National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

Parliaments approves reservation bill for EWS of General Category

President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the constitutional provision to provide 10-per cent reservation in government jobs and education to economically backward section in the general category.

A notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice said on Saturday that the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 has received the assent of the president.

The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, by adding a clause which allows states to make “special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”.

These “special provisions” would relate to “their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, other than the minority educational institutions”.

It also makes it clear that reservation would be “in addition to the existing reservations and subject to a maximum of 10 per cent of the total seats in each category”.

World Bank releases Global Economic Prospect Report

The fourth edition of The Raisina Dialogue was held at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi, India from January 08–10, 2019.

The theme for the 2019 conference was “New Geometrics | Fluid Partnerships | Uncertain Outcomes”. The theme represents a logical progression from the previous edition, which focused on Managing Disruptions and Transitions.

This conference was organised in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs

Global Report on Trafficking in persons 2018

The recent study from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has shown that human trafficking is on the rise with sexual exploitation of victims as the main driver.

The 2018 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons is the fourth of its kind mandated by the General Assembly through the 2010 United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. It covers 142 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based primarily on trafficking cases detected between 2014 and 2016. The main focus of the report was on the impact of armed conflict on trafficking. In conflict zones, where the rule of law is weak, and civilians have little protection from crime, armed groups and criminals take the opportunity to traffic them to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters.

Key Findings

  • Victims: Women and girls make up most trafficking victims worldwide. Almost three-quarters of them are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and 35% (women and girls) are trafficked for forced labor.
    • Children now account for 30% of those being trafficked, and far more girls are detected than boys.
  • Factors: Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most prevalent form in European countries, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, forced labour is the main factor.
  • Region: Victims are trafficked from most South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and to a limited extent also from Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Detection and Reporting: Asia and the Americas are the regions which have seen the largest increase in the numbers of victims detected, which may be explained by improved methods of detecting, recording and reporting data on trafficking — or a real increase in the number of victims.
    • Although, there has been an increase in the number of convictions for trafficking in these regions, the study concluding that large areas of impunity still exist in many Asian and African countries, and conviction rates for trafficking remain very low.
    • While the average numbers of reported victims had fluctuated during the earlier years for which UNODC had collected data, the global trend has shown a  steady increase since 2010.

Bharat Ratna 2019

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, Assamese singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika and social activist Nanaji Deshmukh will be awarded the country’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, by President Ram Nath Kovind today. Bhupen Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh will be honoured posthumously. The announcement for Bharat Ratna was made on January 25 in a statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Pranab Mukherjee: Pranab Mukherjee’s life-long political career spanned about five decades, during which he held various key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. The 83-year-old served as India”s 13th President from 2012-2017, but prior to his election to the post, Mukherjee also served as the Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.

The other Presidents, who had been conferred the Bharat Ratna include Dr S Radhakrishnan, Rajendra Prasad, Zakir Hussain and VV Giri.

Nanaji Deshmukh: Born on October 11 in 1916 in a small town of Hingoli in Maharashtra, Nanaji Deshmukh represented Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur constituency in the Lok Sabha from 1977 to 1979.

He also served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005. Nanaji Deshmukh was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan earlier. One of the founding members of Bharatiya Jan Sangh, Nanaji Deshmukh established a chain of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-inspired schools throughout India. He was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh till his death at the age of 94 in 2010. The veteran also played a key role in the Jai Prakash (JP) movement against Emergency in 1974 and was instrumental in the formation of the Janata Party government in 1977.

Bhupen Hazarika: Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika was most popular in Bengal and Bangladesh and was responsible for introducing the culture and folk music of Assam and northeast India to Hindi cinema. Popularly known as Sudhakantha, meaning the nightingale, he had received the National Film Award, Padmashri, Dada Saheb Phalke Award, Padma Vibhushan, and many other prestigious honours. He was known for his baritone voice and for making music on themes ranging from romance to social and political commentary. Some of his renowned works in Assamese music which audiences still enjoy includes “Bistirno Parore”, “Moi Eti Jajabo”, “Ganga Mor Maa”, and “Bimurto Mur Nixati Jen”.

Sikkim Introduced Universal Basic Income

ikkim’s ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), recently declared to include the Universal Basic Income scheme in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly election in 2019 and aims to implement it by 2022. If everything goes according to the plan, it will be the first state to implement UBI in India.

Sikkim has set up examples in the country in different areas in the past also, some of them being:

  • Sikkim is the best state for women in the workplace, thanks to its high rates of female workforce participation, there’s less crime against women Sikkim’s literacy rate increased to 82.2% from 68.8% in 2001, among the country’s highest
  • Sikkim is the least populated state in India, has its per capita GDP growing in double digits since 2004-05
  • Sikkim also decreased its poverty ratio by 22% to 51,000 (8.2%) in 2011-12 from 1.7 lakh (30.9%) in 2004-05
  • Sikkim became the first fully organic state, since embracing the mission in 2003 received a fillip from PM Narendra Modi earlier this year

What is Universal Basic Income?
Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a programme for providing all citizens of a country or other geographic area/state with a given sum of money, regardless of their income, resources or employment status. The main idea behind UBI is to prevent or reduce poverty and increase equality among citizens. As per Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), the essential principle behind Universal basic income is the idea that all citizens are entitled to a livable income, irrespective of the circumstances they’re born in.

CM Launches Ama Ghare LED

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday launched the ‘Ama Ghare LED’ (LED bulbs in our houses) scheme which will benefit about 95 lakh families in the State. Each beneficiary family will get four LED bulbs free of cost under the scheme.

Launching the scheme during the ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikash’ programme, the Chief Minister said the LED bulbs (9-watt each) will be distributed to the beneficiaries registered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the State Food Security Scheme (SFSS). Distribution of the bulbs will be started at the PEETHA (Peoples Empowerment – Enabling Transparency and Accountability of Odisha Initiatives) schemes on January 15. Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) will be implementing the scheme and the bulbs will be distributed through camps and PDS outlets across the State.

The beneficiaries will have to produce their bio-metric authentication to avail benefits under the scheme. Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma said people in rural areas use incandescent or CFL bulbs due to non-availability of quality LED bulbs at a reasonable price, and as a result, are forced to pay higher electricity bills. With introduction of the scheme, electricity bills of the beneficiaries will go down.

Macedonia renamed as the Republic of Northern Macedonia

North Macedonia, officially the Republic of North Macedonia, is a country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in September 1991 under the name Republic of Macedonia.
Capital: Skopje
Organization: United Nations, Council of Europe

Rio de Janeiro named as first World Capital of Architecture for 2020

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020. The announcement was made by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone R, Thomas Vonier, President of the International Union of Architects (UIA) and Verena Vicentini Andreatta, Municipal Secretary of the City of Rio for Urbanism, on January 18, 2019.

Significance: Rio will be the first city to receive the title under a programme launched together by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA) in November 2018. The city beat Paris and Melbourne to get the position.

World Capital of Architecture: The initiative underscores the common commitment of UNESCO and the UIA to preserve architectural heritage in the urban context. As the first World Capital of Architecture, Rio de Janeiro will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development, through the range and quality of its activities. It is intended to become an international forum for debates about pressing global challenges from the perspectives of culture, cultural heritage, urban planning and architecture.

Palestine takes over Chairmanship of G77

Palestine takes reins of UN coalition of developing countries. Acknowledging “a long road ahead” on the United Nations ambitious agenda, Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed on Tuesday “the historic leadership of the state of Palestine” as the new Chair of the Group of 77’s (G77).

G77: The Group of 77 (G77) at the United Nations is a coalition of 135 developing nations, designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but by November 2019 the organization had since expanded to 135 member countries (including China). Since China participates in the G77 but does not consider itself to be a member, all official statements are issued in the name of The Group of 77 and China.

Egypt held the Chairmanship for 2018. Palestine, an observer state of the United Nations, is the chair of the group since January 2019.

The group was founded on 15 June 1964, by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The first major meeting was in Algiers in 1967, where the Charter of Algiers was adopted and the basis for permanent institutional structures was begun under the leadership of Raul Prebisch who had previously worked at ECLA.[5] There are Chapters of the Group of 77 in Geneva (UN), Rome (FAO), Vienna (UNIDO), Paris (UNESCO), Nairobi (UNEP) and the Group of 24 in Washington, D.C. (International Monetary Fund and World Bank).

Gita Gopinath becomes the first female chief economist of IMF

Mysore-born Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund as its Chief Economist, becoming the first woman to occupy the top IMF post.

Gita Gopinath (born 8 December 1971) is an Indian American economist. As of 2019, she is the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund.

She is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University. She is also a co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics program at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has worked as the Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala.

Gita was appointed as chief economist of the International Monetary Fund in October 2018. Her research focuses on International Finance and Macroeconomics.

Vinesh Phogal becomes first Indian to be nominated for Laureus World Sports Award

ce Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards to be held here on February 18.

The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The Haryana wrestler, who was stretchered off after dislocating her knee during the quarterfinals of 50kg freestyle event at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.

Also nominated are four inspirational Winter Olympic athletes; Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, US ski racing legend Lindsey Vonn and Dutch Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.

The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.

Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

Mary Kom becomes World No. 1 in AIBA world rankings

M C Mary Kom has attained number one position in the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) latest world rankings. She became the most successful boxer in world championships’ history when she claimed the 48kg category top honours in Delhi in November last year. In the d rankings put out by AIBA, Mary Kom is placed top of the charts in the weight division with 1700 points. She will have to jump to 51kg in pursuit of her 2020 Olympic dream as 48kg is not yet included in the Games roster.

Last year she picked up gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and a tournament in Poland. She also won a silver at the prestigious Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria. In the 51kg category list Pinki Jangra is placed eighth. Asian silver-medallist Manisha Maun is placed eighth in the 54kg category.

In the 57kg division, former world silver-medallist Sonia Lather was placed at the second spot. World bronze-medallist Simranjit Kaur took the fourth position in the 64 kg category. India Open gold-medallist and world bronze-winner Lovlina Borgohain took the fifth position in the 69kg category. The men’s rankings have not been d yet.

Government launches National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

The government launched National Clean Air Programme, a time-bound national level strategy to tackle increasing air pollution. The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. The main aim of the programme would be 20-30% reduction of PM2. 5 and PM10 concentration by 2024.

What is the NCAP?
The National Clean Air Programme is a pollution control initiative that was launched by the Ministry of Environment with the intention to cut the concentration of coarse (particulate matter of diameter 10 micrometer or less, or PM10) and fine particles (particulate matter of diameter 2.5 micrometer or less, or PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.

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