Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (January 07, 2019)
1. Aadhaar and driving licence may be linked
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said the government
will soon make it mandatory for linking Aadhaar with driving licences.
Delivering his presidential address at the ongoing 106th
Indian Science Congress at Lovely Professional University here, the Minister
for Law, Electronics and Information Technology said: “We are soon going to
bring a law which will make it mandatory to link Aadhaar with driving licence.”
Eulogising about the Centre’s ‘Digital India’ programme, the
Minister claimed that it had bridged the urban-rural divide.
Through a power presentation, Mr. Prasad said: “This is
digital profile of India — 123 crore Aadhaar cards, 121 crore mobile phones,
44.6 crore smart phones, 56 crore Internet users, there has been 51% growth in
2. Tribals of West Bengal battling food scarcity: study
Two months after the West Bengal government denied any food
scarcity as a possible cause of death of seven persons from a tribal community,
a survey report has identified “food scarcity in varying degrees” in about 31%
of tribal households in West Bengal.
The study titled ‘An Inquiry into the world of the Adivasis
of West Bengal’, conducted by Professor Amartya Sen’s Pratichi Institute and
Asiatic Society, will be released in Kolkata on Monday.
The survey was conducted in 1,000 tribal households to
ascertain living conditions, health and education.
West Bengal is home to a over five million tribals, with 6%
of the India’s tribal population of 100 million. But in many areas, tribals of
the State are “far behind” in terms of human development. One area, which has
been a matter of contention in recent months after the death of seven tribals
in a span of 15 days in November, is scarcity of food. The preliminary survey
report claimed that “nearly one third [31%] of the surveyed households”
reportedly faced “food scarcity in varying degrees” in the past year.
The report indicated that the number of deaths reported to
have occurred in the surveyed households, in the year preceding the survey,
“was 52, among which 48 [92%] were premature deaths” and only four were due to
The work participation rate [WPR] is higher among the
Adivasis in Bengal “forcing the children of schoolgoing age to discontinue
their studies in order to fend [for] themselves and support the families,” the
report noted. According to the Census of 2011, while WPR is 39% and 49% in
Bengal and India, respectively, “the corresponding figures for Adivasis were
49% and 47%,” indicating the participation of more children.
3. Railways propose new security plan at stations
The Railways is planning to seal stations just like
airports, and passengers would be advised to arrive 15-20 minutes before
scheduled departure of trains to complete security checks.
The security plan — with high-end technology — has already
been put in motion at Allahabad, for the Kumbh Mela which begins this month,
and at the Hubballi railway station in Karnataka with a blueprint for 202 more
stations ready for implementation, Railway Protection Force Director-General
Arun Kumar told PTI.
4. Orange alert sounded for Pabuk
The Centre has sounded an “Orange” alert for the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands, officials said on Sunday.
Cyclonic storm Pabuk is approaching the archipelago and
currently hovering over the Andaman sea and the neighbourhood, they added.
An “orange” alert means an increased likelihood of bad or
extreme weather, which may disrupt road and air travel and threaten life and
5. Life-cycle hypothesis
This suggests that individuals even out their consumption in
the best possible manner over their life cycles. The hypothesis is that people
who are young usually have several years of productive employment ahead of
them, so they tend to borrow money to fund their education and consumption
needs, while people who are older tend to be more conservative about their
borrowing and spending habits as they have fewer years of productive employment
ahead of them. The life-cycle hypothesis was proposed by Italian economist
Franco Modigliani and his student Richard Brumberg in 1957.
6. MPs’ panel proposes legal status for SSC
A Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) has recommended
that the Centre accord statutory status to the Staff Selection Commission
(SSC), one of the largest recruitment agencies in the country.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and all State
Public Service Commissions either have constitutional or legal status. The SSC
is the only such organisation that performs similar functions on a much larger
scale, but does not enjoy statutory status.
The SSC was created to ease the burden of the UPSC by taking
over the recruitment for posts below the Group ‘A’ level. There has been a
phenomenal increase in the workload of the SSC, from 9.94 lakh candidates in
2008-09 to over 2 crore in 2016-17.
While the workload and responsibilities of the SSC have
increased exponentially over the years, it has remained an “attached body”
under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and has to depend entirely
on the government for all its needs, with no autonomy.
The Committee, headed by BJP lawmaker Bhupender Yadav, said
that according statutory status to the SSC would contribute to greater
functional autonomy, faster decision-making and efficiency in the overall
performance and delivery of results by the SSC in the recruitment process.
An expert group constituted by the government in 2014, for
reviewing the examination system in the SSC, had recommended according
statutory status to the Commission.
At present, the SSC has a sanctioned staff strength of 481
officers but is functioning with 75% of its sanctioned strength.
7. Panel to go into quota for Assamese
The Centre has set up a high-level committee headed by
former IAS officer M.P. Bezbaruah to assess the appropriate level of
reservation of seats in the Assam Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese
people, besides providing employment opportunities.
Last week, the Union Cabinet took a decision in this effect
under the Assam Accord of 1985.
The committee and its terms of reference were notified a day
before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment Bill,
2016, is expected to table its report in Parliament, paving the way for India
to grant citizenship to six persecuted minorities — Hindus, Jains, Sikhs,
Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh
who came to the country prior to the year 2014.
There has been a strong resistance to the Bill in BJP-ruled
Assam as it would pave the way for giving citizenship, mostly to illegal Hindu
migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, who came after March 1971, in violation of
the Assam Accord.
In a notification, the Home Ministry said the committee
would examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause
6 of the Assam Accord.
8. Defence manufacturing rules eased
The government issued a notification last week simplifying
the the process for approval of manufacturing of a range of defence and
aerospace equipment and components by private industry, by bringing them under
the licensing authority of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion
The notification was issued as a press note dated January 1
by the DIPP, which is under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Items are listed in three categories — defence aircraft,
warships of all kinds, and allied items of defence equipment.
The most significant aspect is that warships of all kinds,
surface and sub-surface, have been included in the listing. “With the list of
defence items requiring industrial licences being pruned down by removing the
requirement of licensing for ‘parts and components of the equipment’, this
would accrue benefits towards Tier-I/Tier-II vendors giving a boost to the
small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” industry body Associated Chambers of
Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said in a statement.
This notification, which supersedes DIPP’s earlier press
note of June 2014 on this issue, segregates defence items in two categories
covered by two different Acts — the Industries (Development and Regulation)
Act, 1951, and the Arms Act, 1959.
9. JPC to submit report on Citizenship Bill today
A Joint Parliamentary Committee will submit its report on
the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Monday, in all probability recommending its
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant
Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians in
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India
instead of 12, even if they do not possess any proper document.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) and a few other
parties are steadfastly opposing the Bill, claiming citizenship cannot be given
on basis of religion. After the report is submitted in Lok Sabha, it is to be
seen if the Bill could get through during the winter session of Parliament,
which ends on Tuesday, sources said.
10. Declare new Indian notes legal: Nepal writes to RBI
Nepal has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to declare
newly circulated Indian currency notes of denominations higher than ₹100 legal
tender in the country. The Nepal Rastra Bank, the country’s central monetary
authority, wrote a letter on Friday to the RBI, asking it to make ₹200, ₹500
and ₹2,000 legal tender in Nepal, The Himalayan Times reported on Sunday.
11. In a first, Malaysia’s King abdicates
Malaysia’s King has abdicated, royal officials said on
Sunday, in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation
about his future after he took medical leave. Sultan Muhammad V’s decision
marks the first time a King has abdicated in the country since it gained
independence from Britain in 1957.
It came after the King took leave at the start of November
for two months, during which time unconfirmed reports circulated that he had
married a Russian former beauty queen.
A statement from the national palace confirmed the
resignation of Sultan Muhammad, 49, known for his fondness for four-wheel
driving and other extreme sports. “His majesty tells the people of Malaysia to
continue to be united to maintain unity, tolerance, and work together,” said
the statement, signed by the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Wan Ahmad
Dahlan Abdul Aziz. It gave no reason for the King’s move. But there had been a
question mark over the reign of the King, who ascended to the throne in December
2016, since he took a leave of absence for medical treatment in November.
Reports then circulated online that he had married a former Miss Moscow in
12. Hydro projects of 5,950 MW stalled
As many as 16 hydro power projects of 5,950 MW capacity are
stalled due to financial constraints and other reasons, which may prompt the
government to bring in a hydro policy at the earliest.
“A total of 37 hydro power projects of 12GW generation
capacities are under construction in the country. Out of these, 16 projects
with a total generation capacity of 5,950 MW are either stalled or held up due
to financial constraints and other reasons,” a senior official said.
The official said out of the 16 projects, 10 are stalled due
to financial stress.
According to the Central Electricity Authority estimates,
the annual loss of energy generation from these stalled hydro projects is about
18,761 million units.
The official said the government is working on a hydro
policy that would provide for longer loan repayment period, lower interest rate
and other incentives which would help bring down the tariff of these projects.
The Power Ministry has informed about formulating a hydro
policy to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy. The policy will also
shore up the hydro power sector, which is facing stiff competition from other
clean sources and also from thermal power.
13. Govt. banks rationalising foreign units
Public sector banks are in the process of closing or
rationalising about 69 overseas operations in the next few months as part of
their capital conservation exercise.
Planned rationalisation of operations and examination of a
total of 216 overseas operations of the public sector banks (PSBs) was
undertaken last year, sources said.
Following the review, 35 overseas operations were closed
while 69 are under process or being considered for rationalisation.
Unviable foreign operations are being shut while multiple
branches in same cities or nearby places are being rationalised with a view to
achieve efficiency, sources said.
14. Goerges retains Auckland crown
Julia Goerges drew on her experience to retain the WTA
Auckland Classic title on Sunday, coming from a set down to end the stunning
run of Canadian teen sensation Bianca Andreescu. The 30-year-old German won
2-6, 7-5, 6-1 with the final point coming when an Andreescu forehand went into
the net. Goerges broke serve thrice in the decider to claim her 15th WTA title.
15. Agut wins Qatar Open title
Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut earned his first 2019 title
and the ninth of his career, defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4,
3-6, 6-3 in the Qatar Open final. Agut needed nearly two hours on Saturday to
clinch his third win over the former top-10 player.
16. Dark matter can be moved around: study
In a first, scientists have found evidence that the
mysterious dark matter — believed to make up most of the mass of the universe —
can be heated up and moved around, as a result of star formation in galaxies.
The findings, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,
provide the first observational evidence for the effect known as ‘dark matter
heating’, offering clues as to what makes up dark matter.
Scientists found that galaxies that stopped forming stars
long ago had higher dark matter densities at their centres than those that are
still forming stars today. This supports the theory that the older galaxies had
less dark matter heating.
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC)
Staff Selection Commission (SSC)
Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India
18. Things to Remember:
Railway Minister – Piyush Goyal
Home Minister – Rajnath Singh
19. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – (of a monarch) renounce one’s throne.
Example – ‘Ferdinand abdicated the throne in favour of the
Synonyms – resign, retire, quit, stand down, step down, bow
out, renounce the throne, resign from, relinquish, renounce, give up, hand
over, turn over, deliver up, surrender, vacate, forswear, abjure, cede
Meaning 2 – Fail to fulfil or undertake (a responsibility or
Example – ‘the government was accused of abdicating its
Synonyms – disown, turn down, spurn, reject, renounce, give
up, avoid, refuse, abnegate, relinquish, abjure, repudiate, waive, yield,
forgo, abandon, surrender, deliver up, disgorge, cast aside, drop, turn one’s
back on, wash one’s hands of