Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups – News
Analysis from THE HINDU (December 29, 2018)
FOR YOUR DAILY DOSE OF CURRENT AFFAIRS FROM “THE HINDU”,
1. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 was enacted to provide a
robust legal framework for the protection
of children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and
pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process.
2. Assault on boys punishable by death
The government on Friday approved amendments to the
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, to bring
punishments for sexual assaults on boys on a par with those against girls.
These include the provision of death penalty when the child is under 12 years
and when a penetrative sexual assault is committed by a relative.
The amendments approved by the Union Cabinet will now have
to be passed by Parliament. An official of the Ministry of Women and Child
Development said the government intended to introduce the amendment Bill in the
The move will ensure that the Bill, once introduced even if
not passed, will not lapse when the term of the present government comes to an
end and the Lok Sabha is dissolved.
3. Manned space mission to take off
The Union Cabinet on Friday approved the ambitious Gaganyaan
programme, which will send three Indian astronauts to space for up to seven
days by 2022 at a cost of ₹10,000 crore.
The project was first announced by Prime Minster Narendra
Modi in his Independence Day speech this year. As part of the programme, two
unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken.
The first human space flight demonstration is targeted to be
completed within 40 months of the sanction date. Prior to this, two unmanned
flights in full complement will be carried out to gain confidence, the
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed
the launch vehicle GSLV MK-III, which has the necessary payload capability to
launch a three-member crew module in low earth orbit.
The ISRO has also tested the crew escape system, an
essential technology for human space flight. Elements of the life support
system and the space suit have also been realised and tested, the government
4. Cabinet nod for easing CRZ norms
The Union Cabinet on Friday approved relaxation in various
norms including the clearance of projects or activities falling in the Coastal
Regulation Zone (CRZ), allowing for greater use of coastal areas for tourism
and industrial growth. “This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet
the emerging needs,” the government said.
5. Analog cable TV gets an extension
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday
informed the Madras High Court that it has extended till January 31 the
deadline for migration of broadcasting and cable services, including the
complete shift from analog cable connections to digital set top box
connections, to a new regulatory framework.
The submission was made before Justice S. Vaidyanathan
during the hearing of a writ petition filed by Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators
Association, a body of local operators. The association had challenged two
press releases issued by TRAI and feared that the new regulations might come
into effect from December 29.
However, senior counsel P. Wilson, representing TRAI,
produced a notification issued on Thursday and pointed out that the deadline
had been extended till January 31. After perusing the document, the judge
ordered notices to TRAI as well as the Centre and adjourned the case to January
3 for filing of counter affidavits.
According to TRAI’s latest notification, the new framework
comprised of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth)
(Addressable Systems) Tariff Order of 2017, the interconnection regulations of
2017 and the quality of service regulations of 2017. All three of them were
supposed to have come into effect last year.
However, they got delayed due to pending litigations. TRAI
held a series of meetings and consultations with all stakeholders. From the
discussions, it emerged that by and large, most of them were ready for
implementation of the new framework.
6. States get greater say over coastal regions
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
on Friday approved the CRZ Notification 2018, aimed at streamlining of Coastal
Regulation Zone clearances, enhancing activities in the coastal regions and
promoting economic growth while keeping in mind conservation principles of
The move comes against the backdrop of a series of
representations received by the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry
from various coastal States and Union Territories, besides other stakeholders
for a comprehensive review of the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 2011.
According to the new notification, only such projects which
are located in CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and IV (area covered
between Low Tide Line and 12 nautical miles seaward) will require the necessary
clearance from the Uniuon Ministry.
The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II (the areas
that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline) and III (areas that
are relatively undisturbed) have been delegated to the State level. The
construction norms on Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR),
which was frozen at 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels, have been
relaxed and will now be based on laws which are in vogue.
The new notification also relaxed the No Development Zone
Densely populated rural areas with a population density of
2,161 per square kilometre, falling under CRZ-III A, now have NDZ of 50 metres
from the High Tide Line (HTL) as against 200 metres stipulated in the CRZ
For islands close to the mainland coast and for all
backwater islands in the mainland, the new norms stipulate an NDZ of 20 metres.
7. ₹4,500-cr. assistance for Bhutan
India will support Bhutan’s development needs by providing
₹4,500 crore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday, while visiting
Prime Minister of the Himalayan country Lotay Tshering indicated his
government’s commitment to maintain warm ties with India.
“I have assured the Prime Minister that India will continue
to be a reliable friend and a partner of Bhutan’s developmental needs. India
will provide ₹4,500 crore for Bhutan’s 12th five-year plan. This contribution
will be processed according to Bhutan’s preferences and necessities,” announced
Prime Minister Modi after holding official-level talks with the Bhutanese
leader and senior officials.
Bhutan remains one of the key recipients of development
assistance from India. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India
provided ₹4,500 crore for the 11th five year plan that lasted between 2013 and
2018. The Hindu reported on Friday that India is committed to supporting
Bhutan’s next five-year plan to begin shortly. Mr. Modi said that to share the
benefit of the South Asian Satellite, the Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO) is moving ahead with plans to set up a ground station in Bhutan that
will help in telemedicine, disaster relief and climate trends.
8. Centre gives nod to draft Bill on Indian medicine
The Union Cabinet has approved the draft National Commission
for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2018. The NCIM will promote “availability
of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country”, the Centre said
in a statement on Friday.
The draft Bill will enable the constitution of a National
Commission with four autonomous boards for the purpose of conducting overall
education in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Sowarigpa. “There are two common
boards, namely the board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission
to educational institutions of Indian systems of medicine, and board of ethics
and registration of practitioners of Indian systems of medicine to maintain a
National Register and ethical issues relating to practice under the National
Commission for Indian Medicine,” said the statement.
To assess the standard of teachers before appointment and
promotions, the Bill proposes an entrance and an exit exam that all graduates
need to clear to get practising licenses.
9. Bill for panel on homoeo gets nod
The Union Cabinet has approved the draft National Commission
for Homoeopathy Bill, 2018, the government said on Friday.
“The draft Bill provides for the constitution of a National
Commission with three autonomous boards entrusted with the conduct of education
of Homoeopathy by Homoeopathy Education Board,” read the statement issued by
the Centre. The Centre said the Bill aims to bring “reforms in the medical
education of Homoeopathy”.
10. India to submit biennial update to UNFCCC
The Union Cabinet has approved the submission of India’s
second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In a statement on Friday, the Centre said the BUR
prepared on a range of studies at the national level contains five major components.
11. CPEC has no military feature, it is an economic project: Pak.
Pakistan has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) is a bilateral economic project and has no military dimensions.
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said this at the
weekly media briefing here on Thursday when asked about a U.S. media report
that alleged that China had hatched a secret plan to build fighter jets and
other military hardware in Pakistan as part of the $60 billion project. The
Islamabad datelined report in the New York Times said Pakistani Air Force and
Chinese officials were putting the final touches to the secret proposal. China
last week dismissed as untrue the report.
Responding to the report, Mr. Faisal said the CPEC was an
economic project between Pakistan and China, the Dawn reported. “The CPEC has
helped Pakistan improve its economy, particularly energy and infrastructure
sectors have improved under it. The CPEC is a bilateral economic project, which
is not against any country,” he was quoted as saying by the daily.
12. Cabinet okays IPOs of six CPSEs
The Union Cabinet approved the listing of seven central
public sector enterprises (CPSEs) on the stock exchanges through initial public
offering (IPO) or follow-on public offer (FPO).
The companies that will go for IPOs include
Telecommunication Consultants (India) Ltd., RailTel Corporation India Ltd.,
National Seed Corporation India Ltd., Tehri Hydro Development Corporation
Limited, Water & Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited and FCI Aravali
Gypsum and Minerals (India) Limited. Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited will go
for an FPO.
13. Tiny tracker to help fight rhino poaching
French tech company Sigfox has developed a bite-size tracker
that can be inserted into the horns of rhinos to help conservationists monitor
and protect the endangered species.
Cameras, infrared and motion sensors, electronic bracelets
and drones have been used over the years to protect endangered species, but
have at times been limited by vast distances and limited resources in the
Sigfox, known for building networks that link objects to the
Internet, has developed sensors able to give the exact location of rhinos using
the firm’s network over a longer period of time.
“We now help rangers and conservation experts to observe
from a distance, taking less risk, and especially to anticipate potential
dangers that the animal could (face),” said Marion Moreau, head of the
non-profit Sigfox Foundation.
The sensors can alert park rangers when rhinos approach an
area identified as particularly dangerous due to previous instances of
14. Peace advocate and writer Amos Oz is dead
Renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz, a passionate peace advocate
whose stirring memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness became a worldwide
bestseller, died on Friday aged 79, his daughter said.
Fania Oz-Salzberger said on Twitter that her father had died
of cancer and offered thanks to “those who loved him”.
Tributes began to pour in for Oz, including from Israeli
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, who called his death “a loss for
us all and for the world”.
While Oz’s writing is widely acclaimed, he is perhaps
equally known as one of the earliest and most forceful critics of Israel’s
occupation of Palestinian lands captured in the Six-Day War of 1967. In recent
years, Oz spoke out against the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
shunning official Israeli functions abroad in protest at what he called the
“growing extremism” of his country’s government.
Many viewed him as a conscience of the nation, although he
was repeatedly the target of criticism from Israel’s far right.
15. India will see two eclipses in 2019
Astronomy enthusiasts and skygazers will be able to
experience five eclipses in 2019, two of which will be visible in India.
The year will start with a partial solar eclipse on January
6, though it will not be visible in India, said Dr. Rajendraprakash Gupt,
superintendent of the Ujjain-based Jiwaji Observatory.
A total lunar eclipse on January 21 will not be visible in
the country as it is to happen during the day.
A total solar eclipse on July 2-3 will also not be seen as
it will occur at night in the country.
A partial lunar eclipse set to take place on July 16-17 will
be visible in India and so will an annular (ring-shaped) solar eclipse on
December 26, Mr. Gupt added.
16. Assam documentary wins film festival award
Finding Beauty in Garbage, a documentary based on issues
surrounding mountains of garbage in Dibrugarh town of Assam has won the best
short documentary award at Asia South East Short Film Festival recently held at
Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The film has also been selected for a screening at the
Short and Sweet Film Festival to be held in Utah, U.S.
17. Aretha Franklin to get a tribute show
The Queen of Soul will get a tribute from Alicia Keys, Patti
LaBelle, Kelly Clarkson and others on January 13. The Recording Academy and
music mogul Clive Davis will put on the special concert “Aretha! A GRAMMY
Celebration For The Queen Of Soul” in Los Angeles.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
19. Things to Remember:
Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Land covered with grass and other low plants
suitable for grazing animals, especially cattle or sheep
Example – ‘a range of pasture grasses’
Synonyms – grazing land, grazing, grassland, grass,
pastureland, pasturage, range, ley, paddock, croft