Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (January 21, 2019)
1. ‘Utilisation of irrigation potential down in Odisha’
Odisha’s utilisation of irrigation potential has dropped
which is a cause for concern, says the latest State Focus Paper brought out by
the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
“A decreasing trend is noticed in utilisation of irrigation
potential. In 2007-08, the utilisation was 80.5%, which has decreased to 63.55%
in 2016-17,” says the paper which was released here on Saturday.
The paper says the utilisation has been far less than the
potential, which necessitates enhancement of water-use efficiency through
adoption of proper water management practices in addition to appropriate
In 2014-15, irrigation potential was created for 52.04 lakh
ha whereas in the same year it was used in 34.61 lakh ha. In the subsequent
year, against irrigation potential created for 54.74 lakh ha, the utilisation
was 32.94 lakh ha. In 2016-17, farmers used irrigation facilities in 35.53 lakh
ha as against 55.91 lakh ha irrigation potential.
The State has around 29% irrigated land for all major crops
as against the national average of 48.6%.
The country has achieved irrigation coverage of 60.1% for
rice whereas Odisha lags behind with only 33.3%. In case of total cereal, the
State’s irrigation coverage is 32% against national average of 60.1%. For
pulses, irrigation covered in Odisha is 2.2% against country’s average 19.9%.
2. ‘Kumbh will generate ₹1.2 lakh crore revenue’
The mega Kumbh Mela, which began on January 15 and will
continue till March 4, is expected to generate a revenue of ₹1.2 lakh crore for
Uttar Pradesh, according to apex industry body Confederation of Indian
Although the Kumbh Mela is spiritual and religious in
nature, the economic activities associated with it generate employment for over
six lakh workers across various sectors, the CII said in a report.
The Uttar Pradesh government has allocated ₹4,200 crore for
the 50-day Kumbh Mela this year, which is over thrice the budget of the Maha
Kumbh in 2013, making the mega pilgrimage perhaps the costliest ever.
Around 12 crore people are expected to visit the Kumbh
between now and March 4, when the Mela will come to a close on Maha Shivratri
The hospitality sector aims at employing 2,50,000 people,
airlines and airports around 1,50,000 and tour operators around 45,000. The
employment numbers in eco-tourism and medical tourism are being estimated at
85,000, said a CII study.
Apart from this, there will be around 55,000 new jobs in the
unorganised sector, comprising tour guides, taxi drivers, interpreters and
volunteers. This will lead to an increase in income levels for government
agencies and individual traders.
3. RailTel is turning railway stations into digital hubs
The Indian Railways has one of the world’s largest public
WiFi networks in RailWire WiFi.
With around 2.6 crore users logins in a month, and over
9,491 Tetra Byte (TB) of aggregated data consumption, RailWire WiFi at 746
railway stations across the country is only getting stronger.
The network, provided by RailTel, a ‘Mini Ratna’ central PSU
(Public Sector Undertaking) under the Ministry of Railways, is not only one of
the largest but also one of the fastest public WiFi networks.
For a modern handset, the speed can go as high as 40 Mbps
for the initial 30 minutes of unhindered open access, which is unmatched on any
The backbone capacity of each of these railway stations is 1
Free WiFi services to commuters are being provided under
‘RailWire’, RailTel’s retail Broadband initiative. Of the 746 railway stations,
RailTel has provided high speed WiFi at 414 A, A1 and C category railway
stations across the country, in association with Google as the technology
Currently, 21 railway stations in Kerala have free WiFi, and
a project to provide free WiFi to 100 more stations this fiscal as part of the
Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of a Mumbai-based trust through
RailTel is on the anvil, officials said.
4. No liquor sale in Rajasthan after 8 p.m.
Rajasthan Chief Minster Ashok Gehlot on Saturday issued a
strict order to the officials to stop the sale of liquor after 8 p.m at all
shops in the State. “Those caught selling liquor after 8 p.m will be penalised;
their shops should be sealed and licence should be cancelled,” he ordered
the excise officials.
5. Implicit leverage
This refers to the various liabilities of an organisation
that are not explicitly mentioned in its balance sheet. Different accounting
tricks may be employed by corporations as well as governments to hide the true
nature of their financial risks. A business corporation, for instance, might
classify a long-term lease as an operating lease in order to avoid showing
additional liabilities on its balance sheet. Since balance sheet figures can
often be misleading to investors, businesses are mandated by regulators to
disclose any off-balance sheet financing activity in the footnotes attached to
the balance sheet.
6. GoM to report on ST status in February
The Group of Ministers (GoM), formed by the Sarbananda
Sonowal government to study the issue of granting the Scheduled Tribe (ST)
status to six communities in Assam, will submit its report on February 15.
On January 10, the Union government introduced a Bill in
Parliament to declare the six communities — Adivasi (Tea Tribes), Chutia,
Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran and Ta-Ahom — STs after approval from the
Registrar-General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
Assam’s 14 recognised tribes, divided into the Scheduled
Tribe (Hills) and the Scheduled Tribe (Plains), are opposed to the plan for
granting the status to the six communities. They say most of these communities
are educationally, politically and financially more advanced than them, besides
According to the coordination committee of the Tribal
Organisations of Assam, the State’s total tribal population is 3.8 million,
while the six communities account for more than 15 million of the State’s 31.2
On Sunday, the GoM, headed by Finance and Health Minister
Himanta Biswa Sarma, held its first meeting. The GoM will meet representatives
of the All Assam Tribal Sangha, the Bodoland Territorial Council and the autonomous
councils of the Rabha, Tiwa, Thengal Kachari, Sonowal, Mising and Deuri tribes.
7. Varsities told to allot quota from this year
The Union government has directed all educational
institutions and universities to implement the 10% quota for the poor in the
general category from the coming academic year, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar
said on Sunday. “The government has already issued an official memorandum. We
issued directives a couple of days ago to all universities and colleges to
implement the quota from 2019-20 itself,” he said.
8. Aadhaar is now passport to Nepal and Bhutan
Aadhaar cards are now valid travel documents for Indians
under 15 and over 65 travelling to Nepal and Bhutan, according to a Home
Indians other than those in the two age brackets will not be
able to use Aadhaar to travel to the two neighbouring countries, for which no
visas are needed, clarified the communique issued recently.
Indian citizens going to Nepal and Bhutan don’t need a visa
if they have a valid passport, a photo identity card issued by the government
of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission, it added.
Earlier, persons over 65 and under 15 could show their PAN
card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card or ration
card, but not the Aadhaar, to prove their identity and visit the two countries.
9. Afghan President Ghani registers for re-election
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday formally registered
as a candidate for Afghanistan’s delayed presidential election, setting up a
rematch with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in the July ballot.
Mr. Ghani, who is seeking a second term, was elected in a
fraud-tainted poll in 2014 that was only resolved in a U.S.-brokered power-sharing
deal with Mr. Abdullah. Mr. Abdullah — the de facto Prime Minister and Mr.
Ghani’s partner in the fragile unity government — is among at least 14 other
candidates who have joined the race. The President has picked Amrullah Saleh,
an ethnic Tajik and a staunch opponent of the Taliban, as his running mate.
10. ‘In 2019, India to beat U.K. in economy size’
India is likely to surpass the United Kingdom in the world’s
largest economy rankings in 2019, according to a report by global consultancy
As per the report, while the U.K. and France have regularly
switched places owing to similar levels of development and roughly equal
populations, India’s climb up the rankings is likely to be permanent.
PwC’s Global Economy Watch report projects real GDP growth
of 1.6% for the U.K., 1.7% for France and 7.6% for India in 2019.
“India and France are likely to surpass the U.K. in world’s
largest economy rankings in 2019, knocking it from the fifth to seventh place,”
the report said.
11. Ankita Raina wins her eighth singles title
Ankita Raina made light of the challenge of beating the top
seed and World No. 122, Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, as she won 6-3, 6-2 in
the final of the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament here on Sunday.
It was the first title of the season and eighth singles
title of her career.
Ankita will play another tournament in Singapore to get
ready for the Fed Cup in Kazakhstan.
12. Green Book wins best film at PGA
Green Book took home best film at the Producers Guild Awards
on Saturday, boosting its chances at next month’s Oscars after it picked up
three wins at the Golden Globes.
The civil rights drama-comedy starring Mahershala Ali and
Viggo Mortensen beat Roma, A Star Is Born, and Bohemian Rhapsody, which won the
top award at the Globes.
Green Book recounts the unlikely friendship between Don
Shirley, a black piano virtuoso, and his driver, Tony Lip, during a concert
tour in 1962.
13. World’s oldest man, 113, dies at his home in Japan
The world’s oldest man died on Sunday at the age of 113.
Masazo Nonaka, who was born in July 1905, died in the early hours of Sunday
while sleeping at home in Ashoro, Japan. The supercentenarian, whose family has
been running a hot springs inn for four generations, was certified by Guinness
World Records in April 2018 as the world’s oldest living man.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT)
15. Things to Remember:
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar
16. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – A large, densely packed crowd of people or
Example – ‘a throng of birds’
Synonyms – crowd, mass, multitude, horde, host, mob,
assemblage, gathering, congregation, crush, press, body, band, army, troop,
legion, gang, stream, swarm, flock, bevy, herd, pack, drove, array, sea,