Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 22, 2018)
1. Amid contrasting claims, J&K Governor dissolves Assembly
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday dissolved the State Assembly, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Peoples Conference (PC) separately staked claim to form a government after a day-long political drama.
“Governor Malik has passed an order in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by clause (b) of subsection (2) of Section 53 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir to dissolve the Legislative Assembly,” read a Raj Bhavan communique.
Earlier, two parties, the PDP and the PC, after daylong political wrangling, wrote to the Raj Bhavan on email and WhatsApp to stake claim to form the government, as they were unable to reach the Governor over fax.
Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, in the letter, claimed that she had the support of 15 MLAs from the National Conference and 12 MLAs of the Congress, in addition to her 29 MLAs, putting the total number at 56. The Assembly has 87 members and any party would require 44 MLAs’ support to form a government. On the other hand, PC chief Sajad Lone, who has two MLAs, claimed the support of 25 MLAs of the BJP and of 18 more MLAs.
2. J&K civil secretariat to be made plastic-free soon
The civil secretariat, the seat of power in Jammu and Kashmir, will be made free of plastic soon, an official said on Wednesday. The government will also issue a notification in this regard, Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam said during an event here to mark World Toilet Day.
3. Special LHB rake for Buddhist circuit
The Rail Coach Factory here on Wednesday rolled out the first rake of 12 special Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches for its Buddhist circuit, an official said. The important places associated with Buddha’s life are covered in the circuit.
4. Navy makes formal request for multi-role U.S. copters
India made a formal request to the U.S. for the purchase of 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) for the Navy in a deal estimated at $2bn. This is among a series of defence procurements and inductions from the U.S. and Russia in the last two months.
The Navy is presently facing a critical shortage of helicopters and several frontline warships are plying with empty helicopter decks. These helicopters are being procured as replacement for 15 Sea King ASW helicopters de-inducted from service in 1991 and one Sea King 42B MRH lost in accident. The current MRHs in service, Sea King 42Bs, were inducted in the 1980s.
In August, ahead of the inaugural India-US 2+2 dialogue, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement.
The LoR was signed and sent after the Navy received the pricing and availability details from the U.S. Now the U.S. will get back with the price quote, following which contract negotiations would begin to conclude the final deal. As the deal is through the FMS route, the process is expected to be completed in a short time-frame.
Given the urgency for helicopters, the U.S. is likely to take some MH-60R helicopters off the flight deck of their newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford. In July, the USS Gerald Ford went for year-long upgrades and fixes. “We will likely get about 4-5 MH-60s from the Gerald Ford immediately once the deal is signed,” the official said. All the helicopters would be delivered in a phased manner from 2020-24.
5. e-registration must for jobs in 18 countries
Passport holders with “non-Emigration Check Required (non-ECR)” status will soon have to get themselves registered with the Ministry of External Affairs before taking up jobs abroad.
The rule, which takes effect on January 1, is said to be aimed at the welfare of Indians going abroad. It applies to jobs in 18 countries, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations, which have the largest number of expats.
Category of passengers
The non-ECR category of passengers include Indians paying income tax and those with educational qualification above matriculation. As of now only ECR category passport holders were required to get emigration clearance from the office of the Protector of Emigrants to seek employment abroad. All those seeking employment will have to register online via the website www.emigrate.gov.in. Those failing to register at least 24 hours prior to actual departure will be off-loaded at the airports.
For all other visa categories, there is no change in existing procedures.
Officials say the objective of the directive is to protect workers with higher educational qualification from not getting into blue collar jobs. Previously only ECR stamped passport holders had to go through the mandatory e-migrate registration since 2015.
Job seekers could also contact Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra in India on toll free number 1800113090 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
6. An endangered tribe
Who are they?
The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders.
The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities, researchers say. Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.
How are they protected?
The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation. Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.
Have they made contact?
The Sentinelese have been fiercely hostile to outside contact. But in 1991 they accepted some coconuts from a team of Indian anthropologists and administrators.
Some researchers argue that the Sentinelese have been mostly left alone even from colonial times, unlike other tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas and Great Andamanese, because the land they occupy has little commercial attraction.
How many are there?
From 1901 to 1921 they were estimated to be 117 people. In 1931, the number dropped to 50, a figure used for the 1961 Census too. In 1991 their head count was put at 23.
Census 2001 counted 39 inhabitants.
7. 12 children’s books shortlisted for 2019 Goodbooks Awards
Twelve books have been shortlisted for The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Awards. The 2019 awards recognise children’s books published in India. Three books each have been shortlisted in four categories. The winners will be announced at The Hindu Lit for Life in January 2019.
Best Picture Book: Story
1) Rinchin for I Will Save My Land (Tulika Publishers); 2) Vinayak Varma for Angry Akku (Pratham Books); 3) Lavanya Karthik for A Walk with Thambi (Tulika Publishers)
Best Picture Book: Illustration
1) Rajiv Eipe for Ammachi’s Amazing Machines (Pratham Books); 2) Niloufer Wadia for Sadiq Wants to Stitch (Karadi Tales); 3) Rupal Vaidya for Ambadas’s Dancing Brush (Art1st Publications)
Best Book: Fiction
1) Venita Coelho for Boy No 32 (Scholastic India); 2) Stephen Alter for The Cloudfarers (Penguin India); 3) Christopher C. Doyle for The Pataala Prophecy: Son of Bhrigu (Westland)
Best Book: Non-Fiction
1) Anita Vachharajani for Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush (HarperCollins India); 2) Rohan Chakravarty and Bijal Vachharajani for The Great Indian Nature Trail with Uncle Bikky (WWF India); 3) Mamta Nainy for A Brush with Indian Art (Penguin India)
8. H1N1 cases on the rise in Kerala
The Kerala Health Department has issued an alert on H1N1, which has been showing a spike in the State since September. There have been 494 confirmed cases of H1N1 this year till date, including 24 deaths. Cases are spread throughout districts, with 175 cases and nine deaths being reported in November alone.
9. Compassion fatigue
Also known as secondary traumatic stress, this refers to a state of psychological fatigue that is experienced by people who invest a lot of time and effort into charity and social rescue activities. Compassion fatigue can cause victims to slowly lose any feeling of compassion towards people who may be in need of their assistance. This happens because of repeated exposure to people in need of help, leading them to develop a feeling of numbness. Compassion fatigue is said to affect professional assistance providers like doctors, nurses, firefighters and other emergency service personnel who are constantly exposed to people who need help.
10. VVPATs do well in Chhattisgarh
The two phases of the Assembly election in Chhattisgarh recorded low failure of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units compared with their performance in recent polls.
During polling, only 0.34% of the ballot units, 0.39% of the control units and 1.89% of the VVPATs had to be replaced. The figures for the mock polls stood at 0.72%, 0.88% and 1.68%.
“Comprehensive training of polling personnel resulted in better handling of the machines,” an official said.
The poll panel used 23,677 control units, 30,696 ballot units and 23,677 VVPATs for the election. It had kept more than 3,900 VVPATs, 2,852 control units and 3,659 ballot units in reserve.
In the Karnataka Assembly election on May 12, nearly 1,700 VVPATs developed glitches during the mock test, amounting to nearly 4.2% of all the machines.
This figure was encouraging compared with the high rate of malfunction during the Lok Sabha byelections in Kairana (Uttar Pradesh) and Palghar and Bhandra-Gondiya in Maharashtra, the official said. The VVPAT replacement rate was as high as 20.82% in Kairana, 19.22% in Bhandara-Gondia and 13.16% in Palghar.
11. Polling booths for Bru refugees
The Election Commission on Wednesday approved a proposl of Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra (in photo) for setting up 15 booths at Kahnmun in Mamit district of Mizoram for Bru refugees. The nearest Bru refugee camp from the village across the Langkaih river in Tripura is about 2 km away at Kaskau and the farthest is 57 km away at Hazacherra. For the 12,014 Bru voters of Mizoram, it will be a homecoming via the same route they had taken 21 years ago.
12. South Korean candidate chosen as Interpol chief
International police organisation Interpol on Wednesday elected Kim Jong-yang of South Korea as president, beating a Russian whose candidacy had raised concerns in Europe and the United States about the risk of Kremlin interference.
Interpol’s Secretary-General Jurgen Stock told reporters Mr. Kim’s election was free and transparent after Russia said clear outside pressure had been exerted on the vote.
Mr. Kim was elected president, a largely ceremonial role, at Interpol’s annual congress in Dubai for a two-year term to succeed China’s Meng Hongwei.
The presidency is typically held for four years. “The general assembly elected Mr. Kim from Korea as president through a voting process which was democratic, transparent, free and clear,” said Mr. Stock of Germany who heads day-to-day work at Interpol.
13. Abhijit Bose named as WhatsApp India head
Under pressure to address issues raised by the Centre, WhatsApp on Wednesday announced Abhijit Bose as its India head. Mr. Bose, who was co-founder and CEO of electronic payments company Ezetap previously, will join early next year. He will build WhatsApp’s first full country team outside of California and will be based in Gurugram, the company said in a statement.
14. ONGC gas production hits all-time high
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp.’s (ONGC) natural gas production has hit an all-time high of about 70 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) as it doubles up efforts to raise domestic output to curb imports, sources privy to the development said. ONGC produced about 64 mmscmd of gas in November last year and this year the output is close to touching 70 mmscmd, they added.
15. A virtual climate summit to cut carbon footprint
World leaders will participate in an innovative climate change summit on Thursday that will take place entirely online so it is carbon neutral.
The eco-friendly event stands in stark contrast to many other international political summits, which involve thousands of delegates jetting across the world to a venue where they stay in air-conditioned comfort.
The Virtual Climate Summit is the brainchild of Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, whose low-lying Pacific island nation will drown beneath rising seas if global warming continues unabated.
Ms. Heine said the event — with participants including French President Emmanuel Macron, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — will be the first global political meeting to be held online.
It will consist of a rolling, 24-hour livestream that will begin in the Marshalls’ capital Majuro, then include addresses from leaders and panel discussions before delivering a declaration.
The virtual summit’s main aim is to encourage the international community to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
A UN report warned last month that threshold could be reached as early as 2030 unless there was unprecedented global action to rein in emissions.
The latest round of UN climate talks, COP24, will open in the southern Polish city of Katowice on December 2 with the aim of reinvigorating the Paris agreement.
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)
Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH)
All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)
National Investigation Agency (NIA)
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
17. Things to Remember:
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur
18. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Sparing in the use of words; abrupt
Example – ‘a terse statement’
Synonyms – curt, brusque, abrupt, clipped, blunt, gruff, short, brief, concise, succinct, to the point, compact, crisp, pithy, incisive, short and sweet, economical, laconic, epigrammatic, summary, condensed