Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014

Kaushik Basu appointed as president-elect of International Economic Association (IEA)

Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of World Bank, has been appointed as president-elect of the association by the International Economic Association (IEA). Meanwhile, Basu will continue serving as Senior Vice President and World Bank Chief Economist. A World Bank Chief Economist is appointed for a 4 year term and Basu started his Job as Senior Vice President and World Bank Chief Economist on October 1, 2012.

The International Economic Association (IEA) is one of the key organizations of professional economists, and has been significant in determining global economic policy and research. Amongst the past presidents of IEA were the Nobel laureates Robert Solow, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz. Thus, Kaushik Basu will be the 2nd Indian to head IEA.

IEA produces a large number of research papers and books and organises round tables on topics of present-day interest. Its principal activities include International Congress organized every 3 years. The occasion serves as one of the major assemblies of economists from around the world. The 2014 International Congress was held at Dead Sea, Jordan. Earlier to that the Congress was hosted by China in Beijing in 2011.


Indian scientist Kamal Bawa wins the Midori Prize 2014

Indian scientist Kamal Bawa, an eminent professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, won the Midori Prize (2014) in Biodiversity for his research, including in climate change in the Himalayas.

Kamal Bawa, founder president of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore, will accept the prize with a cash award of $100,000 during the Oct 16-17, 2014 Conference of Parties (COP-12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in South Korea. India, the at present the chair of the COP-11 and India will pass the baton to Korea at the COP-12 in South Korea. The theme of this year’s COP-12 meeting is ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’.

Other Awardees For Year 2014

  • Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana) Chair, Ghana National Biodiversity Committee
  • Bibiana Vila (Argentina) Director, Vicuñas, Camelids and Environment (VICAM), Principal Researcher, National Research Council (CONICET) Argentina.

Midori Prize for Biodiversity

Established in 2010 at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the AEON Environmental Foundation, the Midori Prize is regarded a major element “at the service of the objectives of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020.” The Prize honors 3 individuals who have made exceptional contribution to conservation and sustainable use at local and global levels, and who have inspired several biodiversity-related works, as well as fostering consciousness about biodiversity. Each winner gets a certificate, a memorial gift and a cash prize of USD100,000. The MIDORI Prize serves as a key instrument at the service of the aims of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020.

“National Ayush Mission” gets Government’s nod

Government has permitted the launching of National Ayush Mission (NAM) to attend to the gaps in health services in vulnerable and far-flung parts of the country. The judgment to launch the NAM was taken in a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Via the AYUSH Mission (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), the Govt. is looking forward to address gaps in health services by backing the attempts of state governments for delivering Ayush health services and education in the country, mainly in vulnerable and remote areas. The Mission will assist in improving the Ayush education via improvement in the number of advanced educational institutions and deliver improved access to Ayush services via growth in number of Ayush hospitals and dispensaries. The mission will also assist sustained accessibility of quality raw material for Ayush systems of medicine and advance accessibility of quality drugs via growth in number of pharmacies and drug laboratories.

Finance Ministry planning to double the Banks’ commission for DBT scheme from 1% to 2%

Finance Ministry is in the final stages of the course to double the commission to banks at 2% of the quantum of funds they transmit to individual beneficiaries under the government’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme. The current rate of commission is 1% per for every transaction under the DBT.

The government transfers money to the bank account of consumers of kerosene, LPG, etc. via its DBT scheme in order to do away with the loopholes and ascertain corruption free delivery. Now, the Finance Ministry plans that for all accounts, whether under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana or otherwise, if subsidy is routed via the DBT scheme, 2% of the total amount will be given to banks as administration cost. This money will not be cut from the consumer’s account but the government will spend extra 2%.

Example, if in a year, a bank transfers Rs 10 crore as DBT payments, then the government will transfer Rs 10.2 crore to that bank.

Banks play a very important role as Govt agents in routing subsidies via DBT Schemes.

Govt to provide training to IAS, IPS, IFoS officers in dealing with Naxalism

The government has devised a training programme for IAS, IPS and Forest Service officers on dealing with problem of Naxalism. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has written to Chief Secretaries of 8 states requesting nomination of at least 3 officers each from Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) for the course. The nominated officers will be coached by armed forces personnel at the Chhattisgarh Academy of Administration (Raipur) during October 15-17, 2014. The programme is being held for the first time on Naxalism.

The aim of the programme is to boost exposure of IAS, IPS, IFoS and other civil services officers to the military, so as to efficiently deal with unanticipated circumstances at short notice. The programme brings together civilian and armed force officers from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, , Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal to a shared discussion forum on the theme ‘Left Wing Extremism’.