Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 2, 2018)
1. Now, visit Supreme Court on a guided tour
The Supreme Court, one of independent India’s first major buildings to be designed by an Indian architect, has opened its doors for guided tours.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi launched the project on Thursday at a small function held at the Judges’ Lounge in the court. He said the idea behind the venture was that “a public institution should be opened up in a limited way”.
An in-house think tank was also launched to strengthen the court’s knowledge infrastructure.
The tours are free and will be conducted between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Saturday, except on declared holidays.
2. Assam residents get relief from SC
The Supreme Court on Thursday came on the same page as the government, allowing more than 40 lakh people left out of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam to use five additional documents, including the ration card, to claim their Indian legacy.
Consequently, the court extended the last date for filing of claims and objections from November 25 to December 15.
Notices till Jan. 15
The deadline for issuing notices to claimants, after digitisation and completion of all formalities, is January 15, 2019. The verification of their claims would begin on February 1 next year. Further details of the time schedule, including the time for completion of verification/enquiry of the claims, will follow at the appropriate time.
List of documents
In a major relief to claimants who did not find a place in the final draft of the NRC released on July 30, a Special Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton F. Nariman allowed them to use any of the five documents — the NRC, 1951; citizenship certificate; refugee registration certificate; certified copies of the pre-1971 electoral rolls, particularly those issued from the State of Tripura; and ration card. The court had earlier been circumspect about the use of the five records.
3. Free dialysis services in Gorakhpur hospitals: CM
With an aim to provide better healthcare to people, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Thursday that free dialysis services will be provided in every district hospital here. Mr. Adityanath inaugurated a 10-bed dialysis unit at the district hospital.
4. Similipal Tiger Reserve reopens for visitors
The Similipal Tiger Reserve and sanctuary in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district re-opened on Thursday for visitors after remaining closed for four-and-half-month, officials said. STR Additional Conservator of Forest Arun Kumar Biswal said more than 100 visitors entered the sanctuary area through the Pithabata and Kaliani entry points.
5. Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts, are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in which each act terms “disturbed areas”. According to The Disturbed Areas Act, 1976 once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months.
6. India to host key meetings
Ahead of the December climate talks in Katowice, Poland, India is hosting two key meetings in New Delhi with a group of countries called the LMDC, the ‘Like Minded Developing Countries’ (India, China, Venezuela and Iran) and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China), which are networks that have been formed to lend weight to the concerns of developing countries.
One of these meetings, of the LMDC, was under way on Thursday here. The Conference of Parties meets annually to discuss ways to address issues related to climate change.
7. Railway hospitals to treat Ayushman beneficiaries
Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries will soon get treatment in all railway hospitals across the country after 125 hospitals were empanelled to make them accessible to patients. Similar discussion are on to rope in hospitals of the armed forces too.
8. Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 is the legislative act under which the Reserve Bank of India was formed. This act along with the Companies Act, which was amended in 1936, were meant to provide a framework for the supervision of banking firms in India.
9. Indifference principle
This refers to the proposition that unless people are special in some way, nothing can make them happier than the next best alternative. So, when they have to choose between two different choices, people prefer one over another until a point when they turn indifferent to both. This happens when the marginal utility that they derive from the initial choice drops gradually until it equals the utility derived from the alternative. A child, for instance, might prefer chocolates to ice cream until he has had too many chocolates. The indifference principle was proposed by American economist Steven Landsburg in his 1993 book The Armchair Economist.
10. India protests China-Pakistan bus via PoK
India on Thursday reiterated its opposition to a proposed luxury bus service between Pakistan and China that would pass through parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan — territory that India claims — terming it “a violation of India’s sovereignty”, a day after it had summoned a Chinese diplomat to South Block to lodge a strong protest against the initiative.
India urges cancellation
A Director in the MEA had delivered a note verbale to a Counselor in the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday, urging the cancellation of the bus service that is due to start on November 3, said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Both Beijing and Islamabad responded to New Delhi’s protests.
While China asserted that the bus service from Lahore to Tashkurgan in Xinjiang — timed to begin when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Beijing — did not alter the country’s stance on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan dismissed India’s objections as “frivolous”.
China is preparing to roll out the red carpet for Mr. Khan, who is set to arrive in Beijing on Friday, and would be formally welcomed at the Great Hall of the People on Saturday. Reacting to India’s statement, the spokesperson for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “India’s repeated regurgitation of claims over Indian Occupied Kashmir can neither change the facts of history nor the legality of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.”
India has consistently opposed the 1963 “China-Pakistan Boundary Agreement” that recognises PoK as under “actual Pakistani control” without prejudicing a final dispute resolution with India, and India has protested the Karakoram Highway on which traffic has been plying regularly, as well as subsequent infrastructure projects built by China in the disputed area.
11. India hopes for U.S. waiver on Iran
With about 72 hours to go for the United States deadline on sanctions on oil trade with Iran, Indian officials were cautiously optimistic they will receive a waiver from Washington.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India had been in talks with the U.S. as well as with Iran to ensure uninterrupted energy supply.
“The U.S. is well aware of our requirement for oil domestically, which is critical for sustaining our economic growth. We have taken note of the U.S. position that the intention of imposing sanctions on Iran is not to hurt India. We will continue to engage with the U.S. and other stakeholders so that our energy security is not compromised,” Mr. Kumar said.
The U.S. had called for all countries to “zero out” their oil purchases from Iran, which India, as a major oil-dependent country, has not done. However, U.S. officials are compiling a list of those countries that have significantly reduced their oil imports from Tehran, who would qualify for waivers, and India expects to be on that list.
The waivers “look likely but not yet formally decided”, a government official told The Hindu, indicating that the final word rests with U.S. President Donald Trump who must sign them before November 4.
12. GST revenue crosses ₹1 lakh crore in October
Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections crossed the psychological barrier of ₹1 lakh crore in October, coming in at ₹1,00,710 crore, the government announced on Thursday.
The collections in October 2018 were 20.8% higher than the ₹83,346 crore seen in October 2017. “The total gross GST revenue collected in the month of October 2018 is ₹1,00,710 crore, of which CGST is ₹16,465 crore, SGST is ₹22,826 crore, IGST is ₹53,419 crore [including ₹26,908 crore collected on imports] and cess is ₹8,000 crore [including ₹955 crore collected on imports],” the government said in a statement.
13. U.S. revokes duty-free import of 50 Indian items
The U.S. on Thursday revoked duty-free concessions on the import of at least 50 Indian products, mostly from handloom and agriculture sectors, reflecting the Trump administration’s tough stand on trade-related issues with New Delhi.
The Federal Register issued a notification, listing 90 products which were so far subject to duty-free provisions under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
A review of the products indicates that the presidential proclamation is not country-specific, but product-specific. With India, being the largest beneficiary of the GSP, it has been hit the most by the latest U.S. decision.
The GSP, the largest and the oldest U.S. trade preference programme, is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary-countries.
A count of these products indicated that at least 50 of them are from India. Notably, India is the largest beneficiary of the GSP. In 2017, India’s duty-free export to the U.S. under the GSP was more than $5.6 billion.
The volume of India’s export to the U.S. impacted by the latest move of the U.S. is not known yet, but the list of products from which duty-free import provision has been removed reflects that a large number of small- and medium-size businesses could be impacted, in particular handloom and agricultural sectors. In his presidential proclamation, Mr. Trump said that certain ‘de minimis’ waivers will no longer be granted for any product, regardless of the country source, that exceeds the GSP’s Competitive Need Limitation (CNL) thresholds. The CNL thresholds are quantitative ceilings on GSP benefits for each product and designated beneficiary-country.
Some prominent Indian products removed from the duty-free provisions of the GSP include dried pigeon pea seed; areca nuts, fresh or dried, in shell; turpentine gum; mangoes, prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid; sandstone, merely cut into blocks or slabs of a rectangular (including square) shape; tin chlorides; barium chlorides; salts and esters of tartaric acid, nesoi; and trimethyl phosphite.
Full grain unsplit or grain split buffalo hide or skin; grain split whole buffalo leather, without hair on; whole buffalo skin leather (not full grain unsplits/grain splits); and full grain unsplit buffalo leather (not whole), have also been removed from the duty-free GSP list.
Dyed, plain weave certified hand-loomed fabrics of cotton, containing 85% or more cotton by weight; plain weave certified hand-loomed fabrics of cotton, containing 85% or more cotton by weight, hand-loomed carpet and other textile floor coverings, not of pile construction, woven, made up of man-made textile materials have also been removed.
Base metal clad with gold mixed link necklaces and neck chains and keyboard musical instruments, like harmoniums and similar keyboard instruments with free metal reeds are among the other products. These products can still be exported subject to regular tariffs.
13. Dravid formally joins an elite list
There they were on the lush, green ground — two of India’s most classically moulded batsmen of all time. One was rightly called The Wall. The other was the great Indian wall before him.
In a short, but memorable ceremony, before the toss on the fifth ODI here on Thursday, Sunil Gavaskar presented the ICC cap to Rahul Dravid, following the latter’s induction to the ICC’s Hall of Fame.
Last July, Dravid had become the the fifth Indian, after Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble, to receive the honour. “It in an honour to receive this from a hero of mine,” he told Gavaskar at the function.
While welcoming him to the Hall of Fame, the original Little Master said: “You fully deserve this; you have been the conscience of Indian and international cricket. Continue to do all the great work you have been doing.”
“It is an honour Dravid, one of the most selfless and the gentlest of men ever to have graced the game, richly deserves.”
After amassing 13,288 runs in Tests and 10,889 in ODIs, he has turned himself into a hugely successful coach and continues to do a great job as the mentor of India’s A and U-19 players.
14. Azhar Ali retires from ODIs
Senior Pakistani batsman Azhar Ali on Thursday announced his retirement from ODIs to allow youngsters more chances to play for the national team while he focuses more on his Test career. The 33-year-old had been dumped from Pakistan’s one-day side since a flop series in New Zealand in January, where he scored just 12 runs in three matches, including a duck at Dunedin, that proved to be his last match.
15. Pather Panchali on BBC list of best foreign language films
Satyajit Ray’s epic masterpiece, Pather Panchali, has been included in BBC’s list of 100 best foreign language films and is the the only film from India to feature in it.
Ray’s film, released in 1955 and the first in his “Apu” trilogy, was placed at number 15 in the list, which was topped by Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.
The list was culled out from a poll where over 200 critics from 43 countries picked a foreign language film they thought was the best.
It was narrowed down to 100 films from 67 different directors, from 24 countries, and in 19 languages.
“27 of the highest-rated films were in French, followed by 12 in Mandarin, and 11 each in Italian and Japanese,” according to the BBC.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
Airports Authority of India (AAI)
Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) – (India, China, Venezuela and Iran)
BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China)
17. Things to Remember:
Central Vigilance Commissioner – K.V. Chowdary
18. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Making a certain situation or outcome likely or possible.
Example – ‘the harsh lights and cameras were hardly conducive to a relaxed atmosphere’
Synonyms – good for, helpful to, instrumental in, calculated to produce, productive of, useful for