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Current Affairs

OAS Prelims-2019 Current Affairs: June 2019

Suman Rao Crowned Miss India 2019

Content

  1. India’s population to cross China’s by 2027
  2. China launches Space rocket from yellow Sea for first time
  3. ASI declares Chaukhandi Stupa as Monument of National Importance
  4. India slips 5 places to 141 on Global Peace Index 2019
  5. RBI set up six-member committee to review ATM interchange fee
  6. Om Birla elected as Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha
  7. Suman Rao Crowned Miss India 2019

India’s population to cross China’s by 2027

In just eight years, India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country. According to estimates in a new United Nations report released Monday, India is also expected to add 273 million people by 2050 and will remain the most populated until the end of the century.

The report stated that in 2019, India has an estimated population of 1.37 billion and China 1.43 billion and by 2027, India’s population is projected to surpass China’s.

The global population is projected to increase by another 2 billion people by 2050, from 7.7 billion in 2019 to 9.7 billion thirty years down the line, according to ‘The World Population Prospects 2019’ published by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Between now and 2050, 55 countries are estimated to see their populations shrink by at least one per cent. Incidentally, since 2010, 27 countries have recorded a minimum one per cent reduction in population. This trend of a growing number of countries experiencing a decline in population has been attributed to sustained low levels of fertility and, in some cases, high rates of emigration. In China, the largest of these 55 countries, the population is projected to shrink by as much as 2.2 per cent or 31.4 million by 2050. In the same period, India is expected to add 273 million people more to its headcount. India leads the set of nine countries that will make up for more than half the projected growth of the global population by 2050.

Following the India-China re-ordering in 2027, the ranking of the five largest countries is projected to remain the same until the end of the century. India is expected to remain the world’s most populous country with nearly 1.5 billion inhabitants, followed by China at 1.1 billion, Nigeria with 733 million, the United States with 434 million, and Pakistan with an estimated population of 403 million.

Overall, it states, the world’s population is ageing, with the age group of 65 and above growing at such a fast rate that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be part of it as compared to one in 11 in 2019. By the end of the century, the world population is set to peak at a level of about 11 billion.

China launches Space rocket from yellow Sea for first time

China has launched a rocket from a mobile platform at sea for the first time, sending five commercial satellites and two others containing experimental technology into space. The Long March 11 rocket blasted off from a launch pad onboard a commercial ship in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Shandong province – the 306th Long March rocket launch, but the first one at sea.

China is the third country after the US and Russia to master sea launch technology. Sea launches offer advantages such as the ability to position closer to the equator, requiring less fuel to reach orbit and thereby lowering overall launch costs. It also reduces the possibility of damage on the ground from falling rocket debris.

ASI declares Chaukhandi Stupa as Monument of National Importance

Chaukhandi Stupa is a Buddhist stupa in Sarnath, located 8 kilometres from Cantt Railway Station Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Stupas have evolved from burial mounds and serve as a shrine for a relic of the Buddha. The site was declared to be a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India in June 2019.

The Chaukhandi Stupa is thought originally to have been built as a terraced temple during the Gupta period between the 4th and 6th centuries to mark the site where Lord Buddha and his first disciples met traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath. Later Govardhan, the son of a Raja Todarmal, modified the stupa to its present shape by building the octagonal tower to commemorate the visit of Humayun, the powerful Mughal ruler.

Today the stupa is a high earthen mound covered with a brickwork edifice topped by an octagonal tower. It is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

India slips 5 places to 141 on Global Peace Index 2019

ndia has slipped by four points in an annual global index on peacefulness this year, finishing at 141 among 163 countries, while Iceland remained at the top position, according to a report by an international think tank. The Global Peace Index (GPI) gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and the degree of militarisation in 163 countries and territories by taking into account 23 indicators.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said in a statement. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark. Bhutan has recorded the largest improvement of any country in the top 20, rising 43 places in the last 12 years, it added.

“India’s rank has moved down to 141 from in GPI 2019 (from its previous position at 136), among 163 countries, and it stands at fifth in the (South Asian) region,” the statement said.

The IEP prepares the GPI report that presents the most comprehensive data driven analysis to date on peace, its economic value, trends, and how to develop peaceful societies, it said. The 13th edition of the annual report, the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness, also shows that the “average level of global peacefulness improved for the first time in five years”, the statement said.

“India together with the Philippines, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan are the nine countries with the highest risk of multiple climate hazards. India has the seventh highest overall natural hazard score,” according to the report.

Eighty-six countries improved their score in the 2019 report, while 76 deteriorated. Afghanistan is now the least peaceful country in the world, replacing Syria, which is now the second least peaceful. South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq comprise the remaining five least peaceful countries, it said.

This is the first year since the inception of the index that Yemen has been ranked amongst the five least peaceful countries, the statement said. The report covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population and uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources to compile the index. These indicators are grouped into three key domains — ongoing conflict, safety and security, and militarisation, the IEP said.

RBI set up six-member committee to review ATM interchange fee

The Reserve Bank of India constituted a six-member committee to review the ATM interchange fee structure with a “view to give a fillip to the ATM deployment in the unbanked areas”. The committee will be led by V G Kannan, Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association.

The terms of reference of the committee are as under:

  1. To review the existing structures and patterns of costs, charges and interchange fees for ATM transactions.
  2. To review the overall patterns of usage of ATMs by cardholders and assess the impact, if any, on charges and interchange fees.
  3. To assess the entire gamut of costs in respect of the ATM ecosystem.
  4. To make recommendations on the optimal charge/interchange fee structure and pattern.

The committee’s announcement comes close in the heels of RBI deciding to eliminate levy on online payment modes — Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) – a move that is expected to make such transactions cheaper.

Om Birla elected as Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian Om Birla is set to become the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha. Birla, 57, is a two term Lok Sabha Member of Parliament. He won from Rajasthan’s Kota-Bundi seat in the just concluded general election. Birla has been a three-term legislator in the Rajasthan Assembly.

Not just BJP’s allies in the National Democratic Alliance, but parties such as the Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress and others are also likely to support his candidature. Birla’s nomination by the BJP leadership as the party’s candidate for the Speaker’s post suggests that it is rewarding ‘humble workers’ who have come up through the ranks.

In 2004, 10-term Lok Sabha MP Somnath Chatterjee was elected as the Speaker. Five-term Lok Sabha MP Meira Kumar succeeded him in 2009 while eight-term MP Sumitra Mahajan was elected the Lok Sabha speaker in 2014.

However, there have been exceptions to this as well. When Manohar Joshi was elected as Lok Sabha Speaker in 2002, he was a first-time MP but had spent nearly two decades as a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council and Assembly. Joshi succeeded GMC Balayogi, a second-time MP, who had died in a helicopter crash.

Indira Gandhi-led Congress party nominated Balram Jakhar, a debutante Lok Sabha MP, the Speaker in 1980. Jakhar remained the Speaker for two terms – from 1980 to 1984 and again from 1984 to 1989. He was a two-term Punjab Assembly member before he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980.

Birla is a commerce postgraduate educated at the Government Commerce College, Kota and MDS University, Ajmer. He was elected to the Rajasthan Assembly in 2003, 2008 and 2013 and served as a minister of state in the Vasundhara Raje government.

Suman Rao Crowned Miss India 2019

Suman Rao is the 56th Miss India. Born on November 23, 1999 in Rajsamand, Rajasthan, Rao has been majorly brought up in Mumbai. The 20-year-old finished her schooling from Mahatma Education Society in Navi Mumbai and currently, she is pursuing Chartered Accountancy course along with B.Com from New Delhi.

Suman Rao represented the state of Rajasthan at the Femina Miss India 2019 pageant. Besides winning the coveted Miss India World title, Rao also won the ‘Miss Rampwalk’ award during Miss India 2019 sub-contests.

Sanjana Vij was sashed Femina Miss India 2019 runner-up.

Sources:

  1. Indian Express
  2. Livemint
  3. The Guardian
  4. DD Nes
  5. Business Standard
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