Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 19, 2018)
1. Section 7 of the RBI Act
Section 7 of the RBI Act has come into spotlight amid the war between the Central government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The provision in the RBI Act empowers the government to issue directions to the RBI. According to an ET report, the government has invoked Section 7 which has never been used before.
2. India-specific Rafale add-ons after delivery of all 36 fighters
The enhanced capabilities sought by India in the Rafale fighter jets will be incorporated after all the 36 aircraft are delivered, according to sources in the Defence Ministry.
There are 13 India-Specific Enhancement (ISE) capabilities sought by the Indian Air Force (IAF), which will be incorporated in batches after April 2022, an official source said.
“After the 36th jet is delivered, the first 35 aircraft would be modified in India by Dassault Aviation at the rate of seven aircraft per month, so that all the 36 aircraft would be of the same capability by September 2022,” the official source, with knowledge of the matter, said.
The first Rafale jet for India made its maiden flight on October 30 in France and is designated RB 008. It will, however, be the last to be delivered to the IAF in April 2022, 67 months after the signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA).
3. Further stressed by thermal power
The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) by the NITI Aayog, which was released this June, shows that 600 million people face high to extreme water stress in India. The report, which was published in association with the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Ministry of Rural Development, places India at a dismal 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index. It predicts that a persistent water crisis will lead to an eventual 6% loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030.
A significant key to this stress is the vast gulf — of about 1498 billion cubic metres (BCM) versus 744 BCM — that has been predicted between the demand and supply of fresh water, by 2030. In the projections that the Central Water Commission (CWC) released in 2015, the sector-wise requirement of water (that is, for drinking and domestic use, industry and energy) will rise steeply between 2030 and 2050.
This mounting rise in demand is starkly evident in the energy sector, which is key to India’s ambitious developmental plan. The share of water consumed by this sector was 0.62% in 2010, which is pegged to rise up to 1.37% in 2030 and 8.98% in 2050.
The CWMI report covers these broad themes — ground water and surface-water restoration; major and medium irrigation; watershed development; participatory irrigation management; on-farm water use; rural and urban water supply; and policy and governance. The projected water demand of the energy sector makes it an important point for the NITI Aayog to consider while bringing out future iterations of the CWMI.
4. Prediction market
This refers to any market platform where investors speculate on the probability of a future event or outcome. Prediction markets have been created to forecast elections, the weather, consumer demand, and a number of other things that are normally hard to predict. Instruments that are linked to various future outcomes are issued in these markets and openly traded by investors. The predictions of these markets are considered to be more reliable than the opinion of experts because investors are willing to bet real money to back their personal opinion. In fact, prediction markets have been empirically shown to be more reliable predictors of the future.
5. Quota for Marathas approved
The Maharashtra Cabinet on Sunday cleared the decision to extend reservation to the Maratha community by creating a new category called Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) on the recommendations of the State Backward Class Commission.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the decision at a press conference held on the eve of the winter session of the State legislature.
The reservation quantum will be fixed by the Cabinet sub-committee assigned to chalk out the technical aspects of the law that will be presented in the next two weeks.
The recommendations are Marathas are socially and educationally backward class of citizens with miniscule representation in the government and semi-government services; socially and educationally backward class can be extended benefits of reservation under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution and in view of such extraordinary and exceptional condition, the State government is liable to take action.
6. J&K all set for President’s rule
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Sunday that the State was all set for President’s rule in January as there were no plans to dissolve the Assembly yet.
Since J&K has a separate Constitution, Governor’s rule is imposed under Section 92 for six months after an approval by the President.
In case the Assembly is not dissolved within six months, President’s rule under Article 356 is extended to the State. Governor’s rule expires in the State on January 19.
7. We need our own BRI, says British MP
The U.K. is “concerned” at certain aspects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and is keen to work with countries like India and Australia so that everyone gets the opportunity for “our own belts and our own roads” and not just one, said Tom Tugendhat, MP and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament.
He said the U.K. was very keen that its relationship with India alongside with Australia and many others “is enabled to ensure that India’s position is secured and all of us have the opportunity for our own belts and our own roads and not just one.”
Mr. Tugendhat, an Army veteran, was in India for the centenary commemoration of the First World War and to pay tribute to the Indian contribution in the Great War.
8. India steps up agro-diplomacy with China
As the trade war with the United States continues to bite — with only a slim chance that the world’s two biggest economies can go past a possible truce — China appears to be opening up to non-U.S. imports.
Smelling an unexpected opportunity to export more to the Middle Kingdom, India is quietly squeezing in the door. The focus so far has been on pushing agri-products into the Chinese market. Sensing that China would look first at its food security by diversifying imports in view of the trade war, New Delhi has stepped up its agro-diplomacy with Beijing.
Over the past two months, Indian food and beverage producers have been conducting seminars and road shows in the Chinese capital.
Though Indian soya bean exports are apparently a priority, especially after the China imposed a 25% levy on U.S. imports, success in the huge Chinese soya bean market is yet to materialise, though some progress may have registered during talks. Visiting Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan in a conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Shouwen earlier in November “expressed satisfaction over progress on soya bean meal and pomegranate and related issues,” an Indian Embassy press statement said.
However, other agri-products may have stolen a march over soya beans in finding a niche in the Chinese market. On November 6, Jay Shree Tea and Industries Ltd. signed a $1-million black tea export contract with State-owned COFCO. Assam tea, in particular, has good prospects in China as it blends well with milk-based tea drinks. “China has been traditionally a green tea market. But of late, its young people are developing a taste for milk infused bubble tea, potentially opening a larger market for Indian black teas,” said Arun Kumar Ray, Deputy Chairman of the Tea Board, on a visit to Beijing.
India’s efforts to export sugar to China, which began in earnest in June, also appear to have paid dividends. Earlier this month, a Commerce Ministry statement said the Indian Sugar Mills Association had signed its first sugar export contract of 50,000 tonnes with COFCO. During his visit, Mr. Wadhawan briefed the China Sugar Association about India’s proven capacity to meet China’s sugar needs over the long haul.
China has also opened up imports of non-Basmati rice from India in June on the sidelines of the Qingdao summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Officials say China is a lucrative $1.5-$2 billion market for Indian rice. A delegation of Indian rice traders was in Beijing in October on a follow-up visit after China, in principle, opened its doors to 24 India-based rice mills.
Despite signs of incremental progress, India’s $63-billion trade imbalance with China is alarming. In his meetings in Shanghai, Mr. Wadhawan stressed that pharmaceuticals, information technology services and tourism, in which India has a significant global footprint, had a “minuscule presence” in China.
Earlier this year, India had raised the red flag about its adverse trade balance during China’s trade policy review at the WTO, specifically citing hindrances that Indian exporters of rice, meat, pharmaceuticals and IT products were encountering to access the Chinese market.
9. Genome study on teas at advanced stage
A genome study project initiated by the Tea Board of India, to establish the origins and speciality of Indian teas, has now reached an advanced stage.
The study is being conducted on Assam teas to establish it as a product of India.
Tea Board Chairman Arun Ray said that ₹5 crore has been earmarked for this study.
Joydip Phukan, secretary of Tea Research Association, which is also involved in this project, said that the study involved decoding the TV 1 clone to find out its characteristics.
There are six partner institutes in this project. The list includes the New Delhi-based National Tea Research Foundation and ICAR-National Research Centre for Plant Bio Technology, CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bio Resource Technology Palampur Himachal Pradesh, Tea Research Institute, Jorhat (under TRA), UPASI, Coimbatore, and Darjeeling Tea Development Centrein Kurseong, Darjeeling.
10. FPIs invest over $1 bn in Nov. so far
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have pumped in nearly ₹8,285 crore into the Indian capital markets so far this month due to fall in crude oil prices, recovery in rupee and improvement in the liquidity situation.
The recent infusion comes after a net outflow of more than ₹38,900 crore in October and more than ₹21,000 crore in September.
According to depositories data, FPIs infused ₹3,862 crore in the equity markets during November 1-16, and ₹4,423 crore in the debt market.
11. Hassan is new ACC president
The BCCI didn’t send its representative to the AGM of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) held in Lahore on Saturday due to “security concerns” and existing political tension between the two nations. Although the BCCI skipped the meeting, the head of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), Nazmul Hassan took over as president of the ACC from Ehsan Mani till 2020.
A PCB official said that India was the only notable absentee from the meeting which was attended by 33 nations affiliated to the ACC, including full members like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
“ICC CEO Dave Richardson also attended the meeting,” he said.
12. Karthik clinches Euro JK 18 crown
Chennai’s Karthik Tharani (97 pts) went home happy after clinching the Euro JK 18 championship crown in the final round of the 21st JK Tyre FMSCI National racing championship at the Buddh International Circuit here on Sunday.
The title-winner had said the other day that he would go flat out on the final day. He had to do that as Mumbai’s Nayan Chatterjee and City-mate Ashwin Datta, were not far behind on points.
At the start of the day, pole sitter Nayan won the first race in a commanding manner but Karthik, who started third on the grid, lost three places at the start before he recovered well to finish second.
13. Double for Advani
Pankaj Advani on Sunday extended his World title count to 21 by winning the long and short formats of the IBSF World billiards championship titles for a record fourth time here. He defeated compatrait B. Bhaskar 1500-299.
On his recent achievement, he said: “I’m on top of the world to win my fourth grand double in billiards. It was the toughest field with the likes of Bhaskar, Causier and Russell in it and to come out on top is simply unreal. I’m now looking forward to defending my snooker title over the next 10 days.
14. Ankita-Karman duo delights
Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi combined well to clinch the trophy in the $125,000 WTA event on Sunday. The unseeded pair was level 6-3, 5-7 against fourth seeds Olga Doroshina and Natela Dzalamidze of Russia in the final when the latter retired following an injury.
This was the best performance by an Indian women’s combination this season, and the effort was worth 160 WTA points and $5,500. Prarthana Thombare and Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum had earlies this year won the $100,000 doubles title in Manchester.
15. Okuhara downs Intanon to clinch title
Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara said her triumph over a determined Ratchanok Intanon in Sunday’s Hong Kong Open final is a massive confidence boost ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Both players were hungry for the win, drawing level 13 times in the second game before the sixth-ranked Okuhara beat the Thai, a former world champion, 21-19, 24-22 in 64 minutes. “This match is very important for me,” she said afterwards.
16. Mahesh outlasts Herrewegan, wins title
Mahesh Mangaonkar emerged champion in the Brussels Open squash tournament, a PSA challenger event, on Saturday. The top seed beat the second-seeded Belgian Jan van den Herrewegen 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 4-11, 13-11 in a final that lasted nearly one and a half hours. This is Mahesh’s seventh PSA title.
17. Bronze for Lakshya
India’s Lakshya Sen won a bronze medal in the World junior badminton championship after suffering a narrow 22-20, 16-21, 13-21. defeat to top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the men’s singles semifinals here.
18. Mickey Mouse celebrates his 90th birthday
Mickey Mouse, the brainchild of cartoonist Walt Disney that symbolised a global entertainment empire, celebrated his 90th birthday on Sunday. Mickey’s career got launched in the animated short film Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928. To mark his birthday, Disney opened a 16,000-square-foot art exhibition in Manhattan.
19. Marilyn’s Golden Globe sold for $2,50,000
Marilyn Monroe’s Golden Globe Award was sold for a record-breaking $2,50,000 at Julien’s Auctions in California, on Saturday. The 1961 award statue for World Film Favourite Female from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made history as the highest-selling Golden Globe at auction.
Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT)
European Union (EU)
Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)
21. Things to Remember:
Chief of the Air Staff B.S. Dhanoa
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
British Prime Minister Theresa May
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
ICC CEO Dave Richardson
22. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values.
Example – ‘they were very conservative in their outlook’
Synonyms – traditionalist, traditional, conventional, orthodox, stable, old-fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool, unchanging, hidebound