Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (January 24, 2019)
1. Collegium best system, but needs tweaking: Lokur
Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur on
Wednesday said he was disappointed that the Collegium’s resolution to elevate
Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Rajendra Menon as apex court judges was
not put up in the public domain.
Justice Lokur was a member of the five-judge Supreme Court
Collegium which had on December 12 last year recommended the names of the
sitting Chief Justices of Delhi and Rajasthan High Courts for elevation to the
Ten days after his retirement on December 31, a newly
constituted Collegium decided to drop the two names and instead elevated Delhi
High Court judge Sanjiv Khanna and Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court
Justice Dinesh Maheshwari by superseding over 30 senior judges.
2. Goyal gets additional charge of Finance
The government on Wednesday announced it has given Railways
and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal the additional charge of the Ministry of Finance
while Arun Jaitley recovers his health.
“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister,
hereby directed that during the period of indisposition of Shri Arun Jaitley,
Minister, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate
Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Shri Piyush Goyal, in addition
to his existing portfolios,” the government said in a statement. The statement
added that, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Jaitley would be
designated as a Minister without portfolio during the period of his
indisposition or till the time he is able to resume work.
With just about a week left for the presentation of the Vote
on Account on February 1, Mr. Goyal’s appointment as the Finance Minister makes
it extremely likely that he will present it.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jaitley, who is currently in the U.S. for
medical treatment, has undergone surgery at a hospital in New York on Tuesday,
sources said. He has been advised at least two weeks rest by the doctors, the
sources added. This is the second time Mr. Goyal has taken over from Mr.
Jaitley due to the latter’s health.
3. Oral mentions in SC will soon be history
The Supreme Court is drafting new guidelines that would help
ensure that urgent cases automatically come up before a Bench for hearing
within four days of their being filed, obviating the need for lawyers to appear
before the Chief Justice of India to orally mention their cases for urgent
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday informed
the crowded courtroom that new norms had been settled by which urgent cases
would automatically come up before a Bench for hearing.
Oral mentioning is a convention by which lawyers circumvent
the long-winded filing procedures and make a direct appeal to the CJI, who is
the court’s administrative head and master of the roster, for early hearing.
4. Governor Malik gets a fourth adviser
Skandan Krishnan, a retired IAS officer of the 1982-batch,
was on Wednesday appointed as the fourth adviser to and Kashmir Governor Satya
Pal Malik, an official spokesman said.
Former IAS officers Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and Kewal Krishan
Sharma and former IPS officer K. Vijay Kumar are the other three advisers. The
appointment of Mr. Krishnan comes over a month after B.B. Vyas resigned from
the post in December last year on the eve of his appointment as the member of
The Union Home Ministry had on Tuesday approved the
5. ISRO to launch military satellite tonight
Just before midnight on Thursday, Indian Space Research
Organisation’s first mission of 2019 will put into space a 130-kg military
imaging satellite, Microsat-R.
ISRO has shied away from sharing details of the spacecraft
or its uses as it does routinely each time during its missions; except to say
the satellite would be placed within 15 minutes after take-off in a polar orbit
274 km away from Earth.
This is much lower than any of its civil Earth observation
spacecraft, which fly pole to pole over the globe at between 400 km and 700 km.
According to information obtained from different sources
Microsat-R and its payload come assembled from a handful of laboratories of the
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is meant for military
use. The satellite was “assembled outside and ISRO only interfaced it” with its
own systems and the launch vehicle, just as it treats any customer satellite.
PSLV-C44 will be launched around 11.30 p.m. from the older
First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra
Pradesh. For its part, ISRO is experimenting on two aspects of the vehicle. One
is to reuse a waste stage.
Amid the 28-hour countdown for the launch, ISRO Chairman
K.Sivan said the PS4-Kalamsat experiment would be short-lived.
It would start about 1.5 hours from take-off and last about
14 hours until Friday midday. Later experiments with PS4 will be improved
gradually, he said.
For the third time in ISRO’s recent history, the mission
team is slated to cut off and restart the PS4 engine twice over a flight
lasting around 100 minutes.
ISRO’s pre-launch brochure said, “In PSLV-C44, the fourth
stage (PS4) of the vehicle will be moved to higher circular orbit so as to
establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments.”
The other experiment with the launcher PSLV-C44 vehicle will
be a new third variant having two strap-on boosters. Called the PSLV-DL, D
standing for demonstration, it ranges between the older two variants.
6. India conducts ‘largest coastal security drill’
Ten years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, India
conducted its largest coastal defence drill, Exercise Sea Vigil, to test its
preparedness along the entire 7,516.6 km-long-coastline and exclusive economic
zone of the country.
The first of its kind exercise was conducted on January 22
and 23 and coordinated by the Navy.
“Exercise Sea Vigil aims to comprehensively and holistically
validate the efficacy of the measures taken since 26/11. It aims to simultaneously
activate the coastal security mechanism across all 13 coastal States and Union
Territories,” the Navy said in a statement.
This involves the evaluation of critical areas and
processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical
surveillance. “Multi agency audit and identification of gaps, shortfalls and
incorporation of lessons learnt into Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are
also the desired outcomes,” the Navy stated.
Post 26/11, the Navy was designated as the agency
responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal
security, while the Coast Guard was designated as the agency responsible for
coastal security in territorial waters.
A multi-tiered patrol and surveillance mechanism with focus
on technical surveillance and augmenting Maritime Domain Awareness through the
coastal radar chain was adopted.
7. Sedition and its discontents
What does Section 124-A of the IPC say?
The section deals with the offence of sedition, a term that
covers speech or writing, or any form of visible representation, which brings
the government into hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards the
government, or attempts to do so. It is punishable with three years in prison
or a life term. “Disaffection”, it says, includes disloyalty and feelings of
enmity. However, it also says expressing disapproval of government measures or
actions, with a view to getting them changed by lawful means, without promoting
hatred or disaffection or contempt towards the government will not come under
What is its origin?
Sedition was introduced in the penal code in 1870, a decade
after the Indian Penal Code came into force. It was a colonial law directed
against strong criticism of the British administration. Its most famous victims
included Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi called it “the prince
among the political sections of the IPC designed to suppress the liberty of the
Is it constitutionally valid?
Two high courts had found it unconstitutional after
Independence, as it violated the freedom of speech and expression. The
Constitution was amended to include ‘public order’ as one of the ‘reasonable
restrictions’ on which free speech could be abridged by law. Thereafter, the
Supreme Court, in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962) upheld its
validity. At the same time, it limited its application to acts that involve
“intention or tendency to create disorder” or incitement to violence. Thus,
even strongly worded remarks, as long as they do not excite disloyalty and
enmity, or incite violence, are not an offence under this section.
8. Circadian rhythm
This refers to the 24-hour cycle that influences the various
physiological processes that take place within the human body. Among others,
the circadian rhythm most commonly determines the hours that a human being is
asleep or awake during a day. Other important things like the metabolic rate,
body temperature, blood pressure, and the secretion of various hormones are
also influenced by the circadian rhythm. It is believed that disturbances to
the circadian rhythm, which is seen by some scientists as an adaptation to
conditions prevalent on earth over a long period of time, due to changes in a
person’s lifestyle, for instance, can lead to adverse effects on the human
9. Cabinet okays MoU between India, Kuwait
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kuwait for cooperation on
the recruitment of domestic workers.
The move is likely to benefit around three lakh Indian
workers deployed in Kuwait, including about 90,000 female domestic workers.
“The MoU provides a structured framework for cooperation on
domestic workers related matters and provides strengthened safeguards for
Indian domestic workers, including female workers deployed in Kuwait,” an
official statement said. The MoU is initially valid for a period of five years
and incorporates provision for automatic renewal. Under this MoU, a joint
committee will also be set up to follow up the implementation.
10. Cabinet decides to strengthen northeast autonomous councils
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a constitutional
amendment to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous
councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.
The amendment would impact a population of about 1 crore
tribals living in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to the
The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend
devolution of financial resources to the councils, the government said in an
Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants
from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects.
As per the proposed amendment, at least one third of the seats
would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth
Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. The amendment also provides for
transfer of additional 30 subjects, including the departments of Public Works,
Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban
Development and Food and Civil Supply to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial
Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.
11. Panel rejects plea to form medical board
The Justice (retd.) A. Arumughaswamy Commission has
dismissed Apollo Hospital’s application to form a medical board to look into
the testimonies provided to the Commission by a number of doctors on the
treatment administered to former CM Jayalalithaa.
Sources said that the petition was dismissed on the grounds
that it was a ‘belated application’ and that it was made with an attempt to
scrap the evidence already recorded at the Commission by various doctors.
12. Missile’s range does not violate INF treaty: Russia
on Wednesday insisted that the range of a missile system
that has prompted Washington to say it will withdraw from a key Cold War arms
treaty is allowed under the agreement.
Russian artillery chief Mikhail Matveevsky told a briefing
that the 9M729 missile’s maximum range is 480 km. The Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty bans missiles with a range above 500 km.
Standing next to the system, he detailed the missile’s
features to assembled foreign media and foreign military officials. Russia has
long denied it violates the treaty but Wednesday’s briefing was the first time
it has offered details of the missiles in question.
Washington has said it would not be satisfied with Moscow’s
offer of a “static display” of the missiles, because they would not show
whether they breach the treaty. The U.S. says the missile system should be
destroyed in a verifiable manner if Russia wants to keep the INF alive.
13. Cabinet gives nod to set up GST Appellate Tribunal
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the creation of a
National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT), which
would serve as the forum of second appeals to do with the applicability of GST,
and will also be the first common forum of dispute resolution between the
Centre and the States.
The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal, to be situated
in New Delhi, will be presided over by its president. It will consist of a
technical member from the Centre and a representative of the States. “This is
part and parcel of the GST provisions,” L. Badri Narayanan, Partner at
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, said. “They had to create the Tribunal. The way
they had envisaged it was that assessment would be done by people below the
rank of Commissioner, and the appeals would be with the Commissioner. The
Commissioner (Appeals) could then go to the Tribunal. They have now approved
the setting up of that Tribunal.” Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act provides for an
appeal and review mechanism for dispute resolution under the GST regime.
Section 109 of this chapter empowers the Centre to constitute, on the
recommendation of the GST Council, an appellate tribunal for hearing appeals
against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority.
The government, it is learnt, was initially planning an
appellate tribunal in each State. However, the idea was discarded in favour of
one at the national level following the experience with the various state-level
advance ruling authorities, which often gave conflicting judgments.
The creation of the National Bench would involve a one-time
expenditure of ₹92.50 lakh.
14. IRDAI mulls enhanced regulatory setup for SIIs
An enhanced regulatory framework for insurers who are
systemically important for the insurance sector in the country is on the cards.
As a first step in this direction, the Insurance Regulatory
and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has constituted a committee that
will not only facilitate in identifying the Systemically Important Insurers
(SIIs), but also recommend enhanced supervision measures for them.
The insurance sector has grown exponentially in the last 15
years and a few of the insurers have a sizeable market share and interconnected
with other financial institutions as well. Stating this, the order constituting
the committee said that IRDAI was of the view that there was a need to identify
such SIIs. The regulator also wants to put in place a system of enhanced
regulatory framework for them.
IRDAI member (finance and investment) Pravin Kutumbe will
chair the committee that will have six other senior officials as members,
including one as convenor. The committee has been given six months to submit
15. Australia looks to invest A$100 billion in India
The Australian government has committed to invest A$100
billion in India and Tamil Nadu will be one of the key States her country would
be looking to invest in, Susan Grace, the Australian Consul General said.
“Currently, our investments account for only one fifth of
the target and we are looking to invest a lot more,” she said at a press
conference during the Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet 2019. An announcement on
the investment would be made in three months, Ms. Grace said.
She also said one of the key areas Australia could help
India was education.
“Australia is the fourth largest country having top 100
universities, after the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Already, there are 70,000 Indian
students in Australia,” Ms. Grace said.
16. Apurvi Chandela shoots gold
Olympian Apurvi Chandela won a gold medal and a bronze in
women’s air rifle in the Meyton Cup international shooting here.
Apurvi won the first competition with 252.2, as she beat
qualification topper Aneta Brabcova (630.6) of the Czech Republic by 0.6 point.
The scores of the both the shooters on the last two shots were identical at
10.5 and 10.7.
Apurvi’s earlier lead of 0.6 came handy after the Czech had
reduced the gap from 1.3.
The results: Women’s air rifle: 1. Apurvi Chandela 252.2
(628.5); 2. Aneta Brabcova (Cze) 251.6 (630.6); 3. Vinita Bhardwaj 230.1
(628.4); 7. Anjum Moudgil 144.5 (628.8), 14. Meghana Sajjanar 626.6; 20.
Shriyanka Sadangi 624.0.
Women’s air rifle-2: 1. Anastasia Galashina (Rus) 252.9
(629.9); 2. Iulia Karimova (Rus) 252.3 (630.4); 3. Apurvi Chandela 231.1
(630.3); 8. Vinita Bhardwaj 122.5 (628.2); 9. Anjum Moudgil 627.6; 20. Meghana Sajjanar
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India
18. Things to Remember:
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami
19. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – A sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power
from a government
Example – ‘he was overthrown in an army coup’
Synonyms – seizure of power, overthrow, takeover, ousting,
deposition, regime change
Meaning 2 – An instance of successfully achieving something
Example – ‘it was a major coup to get such a prestigious
Synonyms – success, triumph, feat, successful manoeuvre,
stunt, accomplishment, achievement, attainment, stroke, master stroke, stroke