Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 1, 2018)
1. Share non-confidential info on Rafale deal, SC tells govt.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the government 10 days to provide petitioners, including former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, information which can be “legitimately placed in the public domain” about the Rafale deal.
This information would be sourced from a confidential note handed over by the government to the Supreme Court recently.
The note details core information on the various stages of the decision-making process, which led to the deal to buy the 36 fighter jets.
A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph passed the order after perusing the note. The Bench said any information considered at this stage to be strategic or confidential might be placed before the court but not be made available to the petitioners or their lawyers.
When the government objected to sharing details of the pricing/cost of the jets, Chief Justice Gogoi asked Attorney General K.K. Venugopal to file a written affidavit. “Please file an affidavit on why you are not sharing… If you have any difficulty, say so. We will hear that,” he told Mr. Venugopal.
2. Towering monument: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel overlooking the Narmada in Gujarat on Wednesday.
3. India jumps to 77th rank in the Ease of Doing Business Index
India jumped 23 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2018 to 77. In the 2017 report, the country was ranked 100.
The Index ranks 190 countries based on 10 indicators across the life-cycle of a business, from “starting a business” to “resolving insolvency.”
“India’s strong reform agenda to improve the business climate for small and medium enterprises is bearing fruit. It is also reflected in the government’s strong commitment to broaden the business reforms agenda at the State and now even at the district level,” Junaid Ahmad, World Bank country director in India, said in a press release.
“The improvement is excellent news for India, and good news for the business community,” Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday. “I’m sure we will continue to improve it more and more.” Mr. Prabhu said several government initiatives were in the works.
4. Towering statue of Patel dedicated to the nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated a 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel overlooking the Narmada river in Gujarat as a tribute to the country’s ‘Iron Man’.
Dedicating the ‘Statue of Unity’ to the nation on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary, in a ceremony that saw Air Force aircraft shower petals as they flew overhead, Mr. Modi said: “It is a historic and inspiring occasion for all Indians. I am fortunate to dedicate this statue of Sardar Saheb to the nation.”
The Prime Minister recalled the Congress leader’s contribution in unifying the country after independence as he brought more than 500 princely states on a common platform to join the Union of India.
Built at a cost of ?2,989 crore, the ‘Statue of Unity’ depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wearing a dhoti and a shawl, towering over the Narmada river and overlooking the Sardar Sarovar dam.
The statue, described as the world’s tallest given that it exceeds the height of China’s Spring Temple Buddha by 29 metres, was built by Indian construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in 33 months. The statue was designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V. Sutar.
5. Unanimous decision: SC Collegium
Resolutions of the five-member Collegium published by the Supreme Court on Wednesday revealed that the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Justice Hemant Gupta, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice R. Subhash Reddy, Patna High Court Chief Justice Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah, and Tripura High Court Chief Justice Ajay Rastogi were finally picked after concluding that they were “more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne judges of High Courts for being appointed as judges of the Supreme Court.
In the combined High Court seniority list, Justices Gupta, Reddy, Shah and Rastogi stand at serial number four, five, 17 and 25 respectively.
The Collegium said another prime consideration for zeroing in on the four names were that the High Courts of Punjab and Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan had remained unrepresented in the Supreme Court since long.
Justice Gupta’s parent High Court is Punjab and Haryana while that of Justice Shah is Gujarat and that of Justice Rastogi is Rajasthan. Justice Reddy was elevated as a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, his parent High Court, in December 2002.
“While considering the name of Justice R. Subhash Reddy, the Collegium has taken into consideration the fact that at present there is no judge in the Supreme Court from the State of Telangana and he belongs to the State of Telangana,” the Collegium noted.
6. Kher resigns as chairperson of FTII
Actor Anupam Kher resigned as chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India on Wednesday, saying that it would not be possible for him to discharge his responsibilities due to his professional commitments in the U.S.
He is playing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a film based on a memoir written by Sanjaya Baru, a former media advisor to Dr. Singh.
The film is expected to be released before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
In his resignation letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Mr. Kher said he will be stationed in the U.S. for “nearly nine months between 2018 and 2019 and then for a similar period for a minimum of three years more” due to his commitment to the NBC series New Amsterdam.
Mr. Kher, 63, urged Mr. Rathore to accept his resignation and in the notice period scout for someone suitable to take over from him.
His resignation letter, dated October 30, has been accepted by Mr. Rathore, who thanked Mr. Kher for his services to the premier institute, the I&B Ministry said in a statement here.
7. Deal inked for biofuel research
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has signed a three-year, ?11 crore deal with The Energy and Research Institute to set up a centre to produce “advanced biofuels and bio-commodities.”
This is the fifth such dedicated centre for bioenergy-research and development set up by the Department.
The others are located at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi; the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati; Transtech Green Power Limited, Jaipur; and the Oil and Natural Gas Energy Centre in the National Capital Region.
The bio-centre would be focussed on not only developing technology but also commercialising it, said Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT.
8. The victory of the divisive firebrand raises serious anxieties about the future of Brazil
In electing retired army Captain Jair Bolsonaro as its President, Brazil has chosen to be governed by a man described as the “Trump of the Tropics”, after the 45th U.S. President, Donald Trump. Mr. Bolsonaro swept a runoff election over the weekend, winning nearly 55% of the vote to defeat the left-of-centre Fernando Haddad. Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign, run largely on social media, evoking comparisons to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, vowed to tackle political corruption and economic mismanagement, and crack down hard on rising crime, especially gang violence. That this campaign promise resonated more with Brazilian voters than they were put off by Mr. Bolsonaro’s dangerously regressive outbursts and polarising verbal attacks denigrating women and minorities, supporting torture, and threatening opponents with violence, says much about the mood of the nation today. However, years from now, Brazilian pollsters, like the political pundits baffled by Mr. Trump’s win, will be asking how a presidential candidate such as Mr. Bolsonaro, who also openly professed his love of dictatorships, could not only find acceptance but soar meteorically in its domestic politics. To comprehend this outcome and the path on which Brazil has put itself in electing Mr. Bolsonaro, it is important to remember the legacy of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and his leftist Workers’ Party.
When Brazil’s military dictatorship ended in 1985, the balance of power tipped toward leaders of centrist and leftist leanings. After Mr. da Silva, known as Lula, and his Workers’ Party won in 2003, they settled in for 13 years of rule, including five years under Dilma Rousseff. Throughout this period the government made alleviating the poverty of millions of Brazilians its top priority and achieved remarkable strides in this space. Yet, over time Brazil’s political class became corruption-stained, and at some point most voters lost faith in that leadership. That happened as the economy gradually descended into deep recession, even as the far-reaching Petrobras “Car Wash” corruption scandal started toppling dozens of political and business elites across the spectrum, culminating in the controversial impeachment of Ms. Rousseff in 2016 and then the jailing of Mr. da Silva in April 2018 with a 12-year sentence for corruption and money-laundering. In the longest arc of history, the rise and fall of Brazil’s leftist politics may have brought succour to the most vulnerable demographic but it left the middle class feeling neglected. Now, the backlash is complete. Mr. Bolsonaro brings to high office the promise to reduce regulation and tax and boost investor confidence, and also the threat to more extensively exploit Brazil’s vast natural resources, including the Amazon rainforest; he has proposed to build a highway through it. This, along with his disdain for the Paris climate change accord, could mark a disturbing departure from Brazil’s historical sensitivity to keeping its precious environmental resources intact.
9. Books – Open Embrace: India-U.S. Ties in the Age of Modi and Trump
Writer – Varghese K. George
Description – The scope of Open Embrace, writes Varghese K. George, Associate Editor of The Hindu, in the introduction, is to explore how U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both driven by notions of nationalism, are reshaping the U.S. and India, respectively, and the impact of that process on their external ties.
10. Crowding out effect
This refers to a phenomenon where increased borrowing by the government to meet its spending needs causes a decrease in the quantity of funds that is available to meet the investment needs of the private sector. Some have argued that the diversion of investment funds away from the private sector adversely affects economic growth. Others, however, believe that government spending does not always lead to a crowding out of private investment in the economy. They instead argue that government demand for funds can compensate for the lack of private demand for funds during economic depressions, thus helping to prop up aggregate demand.
11. ‘Citizenship right not part of Constitution’
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to citizenship to everyone born in the country, an assertion that runs counter to the long-established legal interpretation of the document.
“So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’. Many legal scholars agree…” he tweeted.
12. Norwegian diplomat to be next Syria envoy
Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen, who helped oversee talks leading to the Oslo peace accords, has been named as the next special envoy to Syria. In a letter, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that he wishes to give the job to Mr. Pedersen.
13. Mondelez opens global research centre in India
Mondelez, owner of the popular Cadbury brand of chocolates and Bournvita, has launched its Research, Development and Quality Technical Center in Thane near at an investment of $15 million to develop new products and technologies for the company’s global brands in chocolate and beverages. This is the 10th such research centre for the company, said a statement from Mondelez.
14. Mary Kom named brand ambassador
Having been part of the Run for Unity early in the morning and then sweating it out during training, MC Mary Kom was excused for being apologetically late for a media briefing on Wednesday.
That, however, made little difference to the 35-year-old’s star status at the upcoming AIBA World Championships to be held here later this month.
Mary, the five-time world champion, will not only be one of the 10 Indians in fray for a medal at the marquee event — being hosted by India for only the second time ever, the previous being in 2006 — but has also been named the brand ambassador for the event by the Boxing Federation of India.
Mary, one of only two Indian medallists still active from the 2006 edition — the other being Sarita Devi — insisted that training at the same venue as the competition was an advantage for the host.
The World Championships, to be held at the India Gandhi indoor stadium, would see participation from around 325 pugilists from 73 countries from November 15 to 24.
The squad: Mary Kom (48 Kg), Pinky Jangra (51 Kg), Manisha Maun (54 Kg), Sonia (57 Kg), L Sarita Devi (60 Kg), Simranjit Kaur (64 Kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 Kg), Saweety Boora (75 Kg), Bhagyabati Kachari (81 Kg) and Seema Poonia (+81 Kg).
15. Advani wins Asian snooker title
Nineteen-time World champion Pankaj Advani on Wednesday sent out a strong message before the upcoming World championships by winning the second leg of the Asian Snooker Tour in Jinan, China.
Advani delivered a power-packed performance to outclass China’s Ju Reti 6-1 in the final and become the first Indian to win an Asian Snooker Tour event.
The IBSF World Billiards and Snooker Championships is less than a fortnight away and the Indian star cueist is the defending champion in both sports.
The new 10-red format of the Tour was well-received by all players as some fine performances were on display throughout the second leg.
It was, however, Advani who shone the brightest in this particular event as he registered one-sided victories in every match, be it league or knockout.
The result: Final: Pankaj Advani bt Ju Reti (China) 6-1 (48-35, 67(40)-23, 24-69(60), 63-33, 100(49,51)-0, 47-19, 94(94)-0).
16. NASA’s Kepler space telescope to retire
The Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel and will be retired after a nine-and-a-half year mission, in which it detected thousands of planets beyond our solar system and boosted the search for worlds that might harbour alien life, NASA said on Tuesday.
Currently orbiting the sun 156 million km from the earth, the spacecraft will drift further from our planet when mission engineers turn off its radio transmitters, the U.S. space agency said.
The telescope laid bare the diversity of planets that reside in our Milky Way galaxy, with findings indicating that distant star systems are populated with billions of planets, and even helped pinpoint the first moon known outside our solar system.
The Kepler telescope discovered more than 2,600 of the roughly 3,800 exoplanets — the term for planets outside our solar system — that have been documented in the past two decades.
The telescope has now run out of the fuel needed for further operations.
17. Netflix commissions documentary on Prince
Netflix has hired Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay to direct a documentary series about late pop icon Prince, who died in 2016, the streaming giant said. Little is known about the project other than Mr. DuVernay’s involvement and that the series will have several episodes.
Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
New Land Use Policy (NLUP)
19. Things to Remember:
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu
Chief Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary
J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – mass noun (of two or more people) fully in agreement.
Example – ‘the doctors were unanimous in their diagnoses’
Synonyms – united, in complete agreement, in complete accord, of one mind, like-minded, of the same mind, in harmony, at one, with one voice, concordant, undivided
Meaning 1.1 – (of an opinion, decision, or vote) held or carried by everyone involved.
Example – ‘this requires the unanimous approval of all member states’
Synonyms – uniform, consistent, solid, united, concerted, congruent, undivided