Current Affairs for NDA, CDS, AFCAT, Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (December 15, 2018)
1. Rajapaksa to resign, pave the way for Ranil’s return
Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to vacate the office of Prime Minister — which he controversially held for seven weeks — paving the way for the return of ousted leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The move signals an end to the political crisis in the island nation.
Mr. Wickremesinghe will be sworn in as Prime Minister on Sunday, sources told The Hindu.
2. Gehlot to be Rajasthan CM
Ending the suspense over the next Chief Minister of Rajasthan, the Congress on Friday named 67-year-old Ashok Gehlot for the top post and nominated 41-year-old Sachin Pilot as his deputy.
While the decision on Chhattisgarh’s chief ministerial face will be taken on Saturday, Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Minister-designate Kamal Nath met Governor Anandiben Patel and announced that he would take the oath on Monday.
The Rajasthan compromise came after several rounds of meetings between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other leaders. The post of Deputy Chief Minister was the compromise Mr. Gandhi offered to placate Mr. Pilot after the party chose Mr. Gehlot for a third term to lead the State.
3. HC quashes Centre’s ban on oxytocin manufacture
The Delhi High Court on Friday quashed the Centre’s decision to ban the manufacture and sale of oxytocin, a drug which induces labour and controls bleeding during child birth, by private firms.
A Bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and A.K. Chawla set aside the government’s April 27 notification imposing the ban, saying it was “arbitrary and unreasonable”.
The Bench was not impressed with the Centre’s “far greater” reliance on the need to prohibit availability of oxytocin from what was perceived to be widespread veterinary misuse. “Correspondingly there was no scientific basis, and insufficient data to support the conclusion that the drug’s existing availability or manner of distribution posed a risk to human life,” it added.
4. Term of IB, RAW chiefs extended
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a six-month extension in service to Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Jain and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Secretary A.K. Dhasmana.
The Centre has sought to maintain status quo in top security posts till the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The two heads of country’s internal and external intelligence wings had a fixed two-year tenure each. While Mr. Jain was to demit office on December 30, Mr. Dhasmana’s tenure would have ended on December 29. They will now remain in office when the new government is elected in May 2019.
Mr. Jain, a 1980-batch IPS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, took over in December 2016. The next senior- most officer in the IB, Arvind Kumar, who superannuates in September 2019, will still have a chance to bag the two-year post if his appointment comes after June the same year.
A recipient of the President’s Police Medal, Mr. Jain has served in various departments of the IB, including the sensitive Kashmir Desk. He was adviser to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir, K.C. Pant, when talks were held with separatist leaders.
Mr. Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with RAW for 23 years, during which he served in important areas, including the Pakistan Desk.
The ACC has also re-designated Anil Srivastava, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, from Adviser, NITI Aayog, to Principal Adviser. The government also appointed Ramphal Pawar, a 1988-batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre, as the Director of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
5. High-value Indian notes illegal in Nepal
Nepal on Thursday declared high-denomination Indian currency notes illegal. Information Minister Gokul Prasad Baskota said the government had decided to stop circulation of ₹200, ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes. The Nepal Rastra Bank had declared during India’s demonetisation exercise that it would not allow circulation of the new ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes.
6. ‘Tibet Bill of U.S. grossly interferes in China affairs’
China on Friday rebuked the U.S. Congress over legislation seeking greater access to Tibet, saying American lawmakers “grossly interfered” in ‘s domestic affairs.
The bill, which passed this week with bipartisan support, demands access to the region for U.S. diplomats, journalists and tourists, threatening to bar Chinese officials responsible for the policy from the U.S. if barriers remain for foreigners in Tibet.
Foreign visitors are generally required to obtain a special permit, with the region completely closed off to outsiders at certain times of the year.
7. Adani opens UAV facility
Adani Group formally opened on Friday a $15-million unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) complex in Hyderabad in association with Israeli partner Elbit Systems.
The group also wants to give shape to a helicopter transmission gear box facility in partnership with Rave Gears of the U.S. by September 2019.
The 50,000 sq. ft. UAV complex is the first such manufacturing facility in India and the first outside Israel to manufacture the Hermes 900 medium altitude long endurance UAV.
The facility, set up on the outskirts of Hyderabad, would begin operations by manufacturing complete carbon composite aero-structures for the Hermes 900 UAV. This would be followed by the manufacture of aero-structures for Hermes 450. The first aero-structure from the complex would roll out in March 2019. While the initial focus would be on exports, the objective of the 51:49 joint venture (JV) between Adani Defence and Aerospace and Elbit Systems is to become UAV supplier to the Indian armed forces. Thus, the JV intends to ramp up for the assembly and integration of complete UAVs at the complex, something Elbit’s executive vice-president Elad Aharonson estimated could entail an investment of $50 million.
8. India Post launches e-com portal
India Post on Friday launched its own e-commerce website to help sellers, particularly rural artisans and SHGs sell their products across the country. “The small and local sellers, who have been left behind in e-commerce space, will now be able to maximise their reach and retailing power by leveraging the vast physical and lT network of the Department of Posts,” an official release said.
The products will be shipped through Speed Post. “India Post is open for registration of all vendors for e-commerce business. It will pick up products from vendor and deliver to doorstep of customers,” Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha said.
9. Aussie teen sets 400m freestyle World record
Australian teenager Ariarne Titmus broke the women’s short-course 400m freestyle record on Friday to grab her second gold medal at the World swimming championships in China. The 18-year-old blasted away the twin challenge of home hopes Wang Jianjiahe and Li Bingjie in Hangzhou. Titmus claimed a dominant victory in 3mins 53.92secs, narrowly bettering the 3:53.97 clocked in October by rival Wang, who is just 16.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
11. Things to Remember:
Rajasthan CM – Ashok Gehlot
12. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – A strong supporter of a party, cause, or person.
Example – ‘partisans of the exiled Stuarts’
Synonyms – supporter, follower, adherent, devotee, champion, backer, upholder, promoter, fanatic, fan, enthusiast, stalwart, zealot, disciple, votary