Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News Analysis from THE HINDU (January 11, 2019)
1. Centre aims for 20% cut in air pollution by 2024
The Centre has launched a programme to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.
The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was formally unveiled on Thursday, is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution. “This is our war against pollution across the length and breadth of the country,” said A.K. Jain, a senior official in the Union Environment Ministry.
Pointing out that curbing PM pollution would be a long-term process, officials said the ₹300-crore programme will bring pollution concerns to the heart of a State’s development plans. “The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan, with 2019 as the first year. This is not a pan-India, but a city-specific programme,” said C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Union Environment Ministry, at a press conference. After five years, there will be a review of the progress.
In the past year, the 102 cities, identified as hotspots of pollution, were asked to submit a plan for addressing the problem. Broadly, the plans include increasing the number of monitoring stations, providing technology support, conducting source apportionment studies, and strengthening enforcement. For achieving the NCAP targets, the cities will have to calculate the reduction in pollution, keeping 2017’s average annual PM levels as the base year.
2. PM-led panel moves Alok Verma out of CBI, Rao back in charge
The high-power committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday removed Alok Verma as CBI Director, a day after he resumed office following the Supreme Court order that restored his position.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who represents the Opposition in the three-member Selection Panel, submitted a six-page dissent note. Mr. Kharge argued that Mr. Verma should be “allowed to explain himself before this committee, along with the charges made against him, prior to any decision being taken.”
3. Tax, compliance burden eased for small businesses
The GST Council, in its meeting on Thursday, decided on a series of measures that will ease the tax and compliance burden for small businesses. Henceforth, companies with annual turnover up to ₹40 lakh will stay out of the GST net (₹20 lakh earlier).
In the case of companies in the northeastern and hill States, the limit has been doubled to ₹20 lakh.
The annual turnover limit for eligibility for the Composition Scheme has also been raised to ₹1.5 crore from April 1. From that date, companies eligible for the Composition Scheme can file annual returns and pay taxes quarterly.
The Confederation of All India Traders said in a statement that the increase in limit would allow about 10 lakh traders to be exempt from the GST compliance burden, and added that increasing the Composition Scheme limit would benefit about 20 lakh small businesses.
4. Navy shows prowess to airdrop containers
The Navy has successfully tested containers that can be air-dropped to enhance its operational logistics capability at sea.
Having a test payload of 50 kg, these containers, equipped to carry spares for ships up to 2,000 km away from the coast, were air-dropped into the Arabian Sea on January 8. “Successful trials of Sahayak Air Droppable Containers was undertaken from an IL-38 aircraft off the coast of Goa,” Navy Chief Public Relations Officer Commander Mehul Karnik said. He added, “This will reduce the requirement of ships to be close to the coast for collecting spares and stores, thereby increasing the duration of their deployment.” The Sahayak Containers would enhance its operational logistics capability. Commander Karnik said a test payload of 50 kg was dropped in the container, which descended to the sea with the help of a parachute.
With the successs of these trials, series production of Sahayak containers and parachutes would be undertaken.
These cylindrical containers have been indigenously developed by the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory and the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
5. Cabinet approves 3 new AIIMS in J&K, Gujarat
The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of three All India Institutes of Medical Sciences in Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat. These will be in Samba in Jammu at a cost of ₹1,661 crore, in Pulwama in Kashmir at a cost of ₹1,828 crore, and in Rajkot, Gujarat, at a cost of ₹1,195 crore.
The institutes will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, the government said.
The Cabinet approval also involves the creation of a post of director with a basic pay of ₹2,25,000 for each of the three AIIMS. The cost of construction, operation and maintenance of the three AIIMS will be fully borne by the Central government.
“The objective is to establish the new AIIMS as Institutions of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education and research in the region,” the government said.
Each AIIMS will add 100 undergraduate (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc. (nursing) seats and will have 15-20 super-speciality departments. Each AIIMS will also add 750 hospital beds which will include emergency/trauma beds, AYUSH beds, private beds, and ICU speciality and super-speciality beds.
6. Joint supply
This refers to a situation where the supply of two or more goods is inextricably linked. The increase or decrease in the supply of one of the goods will cause the supply of the other good to also increase or decrease at the same time. The increase in the supply of cows, for instance, simultaneously increases the supply of both milk as well as meat in the market. So the prices of both milk and meat will be affected by the rearing of more cows by farmers. The demand for jointly supplied goods, however, may not be commensurate with the available supply of each of the goods. The demand for milk, for instance, may be greater than the demand for meat in certain markets.
7. States’ approval not needed for quota Bill
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Amendment) Bill of 2019 providing up to 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of society may be notified as the law of the land sooner than expected.
The proviso to Article 368 (power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure thereof) holds that an amendment to a fundamental right coming under Part III of the Constitution need not be ratified by the Legislatures of one half of the States. So, this Bill may be notified by the Central government as soon as it gets the assent from the President.
The Bill, passed by both the Houses of Parliament, adds new clauses to Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution. Both the Articles come under the part of ‘Fundamental Rights’ in the text of the Constitution. They are part of the ‘right to equality’ section of the fundamental rights envisaged in the Constitution.
The new clause (6) to Article 15 allows the government to carve reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private ones, whether they are aided or not by the State. Minority educational institutions are exempted. Likewise, the new clause (6) to Article 16 provides for quota for economically deprived sections in the initial appointment in government services.
8. Ms Boss obliges in Bahrain Trophy
Ms Boss ridden by A. Sandesh won the Bahrain Trophy, the main event of Thursday’s (Jan. 10) races.
The winner is owned by Mr. Geoffrey B. Nagpal, Mrs. Charonne Nagpal, Mr. Nishant G. Nagpal & Ms. Erika Nagpal. Sanjay Kolse trains the winner.
Trainer Sangramsinh Joshi saddled three winners.
National Commission for Women (NCW)
10. Things to Remember:
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
11. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Skill or expertise in a particular activity or field
Example – ‘his prowess as a fisherman’
Synonyms – skill, skilfulness, expertise, effectiveness, mastery, facility, ability, capability, capacity, talent, genius, adroitness, adeptness, aptitude, dexterity, deftness, competence, competency, professionalism, excellence, accomplishment, experience, proficiency, expertness, finesse, know-how
Meaning 2 – Bravery in battle
Example – ‘the hereditary nobility had no monopoly of skill and prowess in war’
Synonyms – courage, bravery, gallantry, valour, heroism, intrepidness, intrepidity, nerve, pluck, pluckiness, doughtiness, hardihood, braveness, courageousness, dauntlessness, gameness, manfulness, boldness, daring, audacity, spirit, fearlessness