Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 9, 2018)
1. Rafale fighter made for India takes maiden flight
As the political controversy over the Rafale fighter jet deal continues in India, manufacturing of the aircraft customised as per the specifications of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is making progress. The first aircraft built by Dassault Aviation for the IAF, a two-seater variant, made its maiden flight on October 30 in France and is designated RB 008, according to official sources.
“RB stands for Air Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria as he had a major role in the contract negotiations,” an official source said.
Air Marshal Bhadauria was the Deputy Chief of the IAF during the contract negotiations for 36 Rafale jets and is presently the Air Officer Commanding-In-Chief of the IAF’s Training Command. In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.
The surprise announcement for the 36 aircraft was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to Paris in April 2015, citing “critical operational necessity” of the IAF. RB 008 will be the 36th aircraft to be delivered to the IAF in 2022, 67 months after the contract is signed, the source added.
As per terms of the IGA, deliveries will begin 36 months after the signing of the contract and be completed in 67 months.
2. Jet Airways, SpiceJet told to act on sensor-related issues in Boeing 737
The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation has asked SpiceJet and Jet Airways to follow certain protocol for a faulty sensor that may cause a plane to lose altitude, a problem suspected to have brought down Indonesian carrier Lion Air’s Boeing 737 Max 8 jet off Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
Earlier this week, Boeing advised airlines on how to handle circumstances stemming from incorrect data from ‘angle of attack’ sensors. Then the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. issued an airworthiness directive and asked all airlines to follow Boeing’s directive. “Within three days of receipt of the FAA’s airworthiness directive, changes to the Airplane Flight Manual have to be done for procedures which have to be followed by flight crew,” the DGCA said in a statement.
3. Six airports set to be privatised
The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave an “in principle” approval for operating, managing and developing six non-metro airports — Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru — under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given “…in-principle approval for leasing out six airports of Airport Authority of India (AAI)…for operation, management and development under PPP,” the government said in a statement.
‘Increase in revenues’
At present, airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Cochin are managed under the PPP model. The PPP mode has helped create world-class airports, while also helping the AAI increase its revenues, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
This will be done through the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC). Additionally, a committee headed by NITI Aayog CEO with the Aviation Secretary, Economic Affairs Secretary and Expenditure Secretary as its members, has been set up to decide on any issue falling beyond the scope of the PPPAC.
4. Trade spending
This refers to any spending made by companies in order to promote their products among buyers in a retail store. This might involve paying retailers to showcase their products prominently on their shelves to promote sales by increasing product visibility. Naturally, consumer goods companies are the ones that allocate a significant share of their overall budget for the cause of trade spending. Some critics have argued that trade spending by large companies leads to unfair competition. Supporters of trade spending, however, believe that it offers an opportunity for any company with a promising product to increase its visibility.
5. India to join Afghanistan peace talks
In a significant departure from India’s stand on engaging the Taliban, the government announced it would participate at a “non-official” level. Two former senior diplomats will attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held in Russia on Friday.
The talks, known as the “Moscow format” will include a “high-level” delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan’s “High Peace Council”, along with representatives of 12 countries, and will mark the first time an Indian delegation has been present at the table with the Taliban representatives based in Doha.
On Thursday, the United States said it would send representatives from its embassy in Moscow to the talks; Pakistan is also expected to send a representative.
“India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country. India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Government of Afghanistan,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, adding that “Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level.”
6. EC turns down BJP’s plea
The Election Commission on Thursday turned down a request from the BJP to extend the last date for filing of nominations for the Assembly polls in Mizoram, which is to be held on November 28. “The decision has been taken as per rules and court directives, which do not allow for extending the nomination process beyond the mandated seven days,” said an official.
7. Bangladesh general election set for Dec. 23
Bangladesh will hold its national election on December 23 despite bitter wrangling between the government and the opposition, authorities announced on Thursday.
Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda said in a nationally broadcast speech that all preparations had been made to ensure “fair” polls.
The opposition has expressed fears that the election will not be democratic and has threatened protests.
Detained opposition leader Khaleda Zia was sent back to jail a few hours before the announcement, after a month of treatment in hospital. Ms. Zia will almost certainly be banned from contesting the election as she has been jailed for corruption and has virtually no time left to appeal.
Her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the last election in 2014 over fears it would be rigged.
The ruling Awami League and its main ally Jatiya Party welcomed the announcement, saying they were “happy” with the date.
8. Centre to sell its entire stake in Dredging Corporation
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday gave ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of the government’s entire stake in the Dredging Corporation of India Limited (DCIL) to a consortium of four ports viz. Vishakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradeep Port Trust, Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust.
The government holds 73.44% shares in DCIL valued at a little over ₹700 crore as per current market prices of the share.
The government had set a disinvestment target of ₹80,000 crore for the current financial year.
The strategic disinvestment of DCIL shall be undertaken after conducting due diligence exercise by both the entities with the help of advisors appointed for the transaction.
The Union Cabinet also approved the filling of Padur Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) at Padur, Karnataka, by foreign oil companies.
India has constructed and commissioned underground rock caverns for storage of total 5.33 MMT of crude oil at three locations — Vishakhapatnam (1.33 MMT), Mangaluru (1.5 MMT) and Padur (2.5 MMT). The Cabinet also approved the continuation of 30% quota for State-owned ITI Ltd. in the procurement by three telecom companies — BSNL, MTNL and BBNL — for three years.
9. GST refunds of ₹82,775 cr. cleared
The Finance Ministry said that GST refunds of ₹82,775 crore to exporters has been cleared as on October 31, which is 93.8% of the total such claims.
The Ministry said ₹5,400 crore worth GST refunds were still pending with the government and being “expeditiously processed.”
“As on October 31, 2018, total GST refunds to the tune of ₹82,775 crore have been disposed by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the State authorities out of the total refund claims of ₹88,175 crore received so far,” the Ministry said.
10. India wins team gold
Saurabh Chaudhary added yet another feather to his cap as he beat Arjun Singh Cheema by 2.1 points to win the junior men’s air pistol gold in the 11th Asian air gun championship here on Thursday.
It has been a phenomenal season for Saurabh, who qualified in third place with 576.
The 16-year-old won the Asian Games gold, World Championship junior gold and the Youth Olympics gold before this.
The Indians swept the team gold with an intimidating 38-point margin over the Chinese.
The results: 10m air pistol: Junior men: 1. Saurabh Chaudhary 239.8 (576); 2. Arjun Singh Cheema 237.7 (578); 3. Wei-Te Huang (Tpe) 218.0 (572); 4. Anmol Jain 195.1 (577).
Team: 1. India 1731; 2. China 1693; 3. Kazakhstan 1668.
Junior women: 1. Wang Xiaoyu (Chn) 238.9 (574); 2. Wang Keyi (Chn) 234.8 (562); 3. Mei-Fang Yang (Tpe) 216.5 (563); 4. Manu Bhaker 196.4 (579); 7. Abhidnya Patil 133.1 (563).
Team: 1. China 1704; 2. India 1694; 3. Chinese Taipei 1679.
11. Double for Pranavi
Pranavi S. Urs won a splendid double by clinching the overall title and the Category-A girls’ title in the Singha Thailand junior World amateur golf championship 2018 at the Royal Hua-Hin golf course recently.
The 15-year-old won the Category-A girls’ title with a four-day aggregate score of six-over-294, and also annexed the overall title by beating Magcalayo Jolo Timothy of the Philippines on the first play-off hole. Both the players had tied with a card of six-over-294.
Pranavi and Anika Varma also won third place in the team event behind Korea (599) and Thailand (602).
The Indian boys’ team comprising Sunhit Bishnoi and Raghav Chugh won the team title with a combined total of 591.
Thailand (597) and Japan (603) finished second and third respectively.
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC)
13. Things to Remember:
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu
IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla
14. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disprove.
Example – ‘these claims have not been convincingly refuted’
Synonyms – disprove, prove false, prove wrong, prove to be false, prove to be wrong, show to be false, show to be wrong, rebut, confute, give the lie to, demolish, explode, debunk, drive a coach and horses through, discredit, invalidate