Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 25, 2018)
1. Centre sets up GoM on sexual harassment
The Centre on Wednesday established a Group of Ministers to recommend measures to effectively implement the law against sexual harassment at the workplace and to strengthen the legal and institutional framework in response to the #MeToo campaign.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will head the GoM, which includes Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
The GoM will come up with a comprehensive plan within three months and devise ways to ensure its time-bound implementation, an official statement said.
A panel of legal luminaries, recommended by Ms. Gandhi on the lines of the Justice Verma Committee, has been quietly junked.
Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar had resigned recently after several journalists accused him of misconduct and harassment when they worked with him in different media organisations.
2. Lokayukta from Feb., T.N. tells SC
The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that the office of Lokayukta will start to function from February 1 next year.
The State’s assurance came after a Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took a stern view of the non-appointment of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
The court gave time till 2 p.m. in the afternoon for other States like West Bengal and Telangana to also get instructions from the respective Chief Secretaries about the appointment of Lokayuktas.
“All you have to do is to appoint a retired judge as Lokayukta… problems may be many, but the issue is you do not seem to want a Lokayukta,” Justice Gogoi snubbed the State governments.
West Bengal returned in the afternoon to inform the court that the Lokayukta would be functional from January 1.
Meanwhile, Telangana submitted that it would appoint a Lokayukta within three months of the formation of a new government.
The Union Territory of Puducherry submitted that it would send its Lokayukta Bill for approval to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The court has asked the Additional Solicitor General for the Centre to apprise it whether the approval process can be expedited.
In March, the court had asked 11 States to explain the five-year delay in appointment of anti-corruption ombudsman Lokayukta and Uplokayukta. It had found that several States have not appointed Lokayuktas despite the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act coming into existence in 2013.
3. Government to set up skill development centres
The Centre has decided to set up skill development institutes on government land, in partnership with private players, across the country. The Union Cabinet approved the scheme on Wednesday, according to an official statement.
The public-private partnership model will be adopted to set up the institutes — to be called the Indian Institutes of Skills — at select locations, based on demand and available infrastructure.
The institutes are expected to help boost the global competitiveness of key industry sectors by providing high-quality skill training, applied research education and a direct and meaningful connection with the industry.
“It will also provide opportunity to aspiring youth across the country to have access to highly skilled training, and enhance the scope of accountability through its linkage with industry and global competitiveness across sectors,” the statement said.
4. World’s first humanoid robot Sophia arrives
After disappointing many for not being able to make it to the inaugural of the Vizag Fintech Festival, world’s first humanoid robot, Sophia, finally arrived in the city from Hong Kong on Wednesday. “The robot will speak at the festival on Thursday,” IT Principal Secretary K. Vijayanand said.
5. Momentum investing
This refers to an investment strategy which advocates picking stocks, bonds, or any other financial security based on their past price performance. A fund manager employing the momentum investing strategy, for instance, would prefer to buy stocks whose prices have risen significantly in the recent past. He might also prefer to short stocks that have witnessed a steady fall over the recent weeks or months. This is in complete contrast to value investing, a popular investment strategy in which fund managers prefer to buy securities that have recently fallen in price and are thus considered to be trading at a bargain compared to their underlying value.
6. SC bans sale of BS-IV vehicles from 2020
The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned the sale and registration of motor vehicles conforming to the emission standard Bharat Stage-IV in the entire country from April 1, 2020.
It said pollution hasreached an “alarming and critical” level all over India. “It brooks no delay,” a three-judge Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur, S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta observed in a 20-page judgment.
The country will have to shift to the cleaner Bharat- VI fuel from April 1, 2020. Bharat Stage (BS) emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The BS-IV norms have been enforced across the country since April 2017. In 2016, the Centre had announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.
The apex court said there cannot be any compromise on the health of citizens and this has to take precedence over the “greed” of a few automobile manufacturers who want to stretch the timeline.
7. New rail line for U.P.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved a new railway line between Bahraich and Khalilabad (in Uttar Pradesh) with an estimated project cost of ₹4,939.78 crore.
The total length of the new broad gauge line will be 240.26 km, an official statement said.
The new line, which will cross towns such as Bhigna, Shravastk, Balrampur, Utraula, Domariyaganj, Mehdawal and Bansi, is expected to be completed by 2024-25.
The project will generate direct employment of about 57.67 lakh man-days during construction, the government said.
8. Israel, India sign $777 mn missile deal
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a $777 mn deal with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to supply additional Barak-8 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) systems for seven warships of the Indian Navy.
“IAI’s partnership with India dates many years back and has culminated in joint system development and production,” IAI Chief Executive Officer Nimrod Sheffer said in Israel on Wednesday.
The total orders for LRSAM systems have crossed over $6 billion, he added.
The LRSAM can intercept aerial targets up to a range of 80 km. It is being co-developed by the DRDO in India and IAI, and will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.
9. Centre’s nod for ₹7,522 cr. fisheries fund
The Centre has set up a ₹7,522-crore fund to create infrastructure facilities for the fisheries sector and help boost annual fish production to 20 million tonnes by 2022-23 from the current production of 11.4 million tonnes.
The establishment of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday, said an official statement. Loan lending will be over a period of five years till 2022-23 and maximum repayment will be over a period of 12 years, inclusive of a moratorium of two years on repayment of principal.
10. Maldives Speaker to be impeached
The Maldives Opposition moved closer on Wednesday to impeaching the Speaker of Parliament, a staunch loyalist of outgoing strongman President Abdulla Yameen. An alliance of Opposition parties has collected signatures from 55 MPs, or roughly two-thirds of sitting lawmakers, for a petition to oust Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed.
The Speaker has survived a number of impeachment motions since taking office in 2014 under Mr. Yameen. Parliamentary officials said the impeachment motion would be put to a vote on November 8, nine days before Mr. Yameen’s term ends.
Mr. Yameen declared a state of emergency, suspended the Constitution and ordered troops to storm Parliament when Mr. Mohamed faced impeachment in February. He also rounded up his opponents and jailed dissidents before lifting the emergency declaration 45 days later.
11. EU Parliament approves ban on single-use plastics
The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for an EU-wide ban on single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, cotton buds and balloon sticks. The European Commission, the 28-nation EU’s executive arm, proposed banning such items that it said account for 70% of the waste in the oceans and beaches.
12. Jordan to host India in a friendly on Nov. 17
The Indian men’s football team will square off against Jordan in a friendly match at the King Abdullah II International Stadium in Amman on November 17, which will be the first such encounter between the two sides, according to a AIFF press release. Jordan is currently ranked 110th, while India is placed 97th.
13. Maharani Jindan Kaur’s necklace sold
An emerald and seed-pearl necklace owned by Maharani Jindan Kaur, the wife of Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has sold for £187,000 at a auction as part of the “Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art Sale”, after triggering a fierce bidding war.
The necklace worn by Kaur, the final and the only one of Maharaja’s wives not to commit Sati after his death, surpassed its estimated price between £80,000 and 120,000.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
15. Things to Remember:
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
16. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Confirm or settle (a contract or bargain)
Example – ‘the Texan wanted to impress him to clinch a business deal’
Synonyms – secure, settle, conclude, close, pull off, bring off, complete, confirm, seal, set the seal on, finalize, shake hands on, reach an agreement on
Meaning 1.1 – Conclusively settle (an argument or debate)
Example – ‘these findings clinched the matter’
Synonyms – settle, decide, determine, establish
Meaning 1.2 – Confirm the winning or achievement of (a match, competition, or victory)
‘Johnson scored the goals which clinched victory’
Synonyms – win, be the victor in, be the winner of, be victorious in, come first in, finish first in, take first prize in, triumph in, achieve success in, be successful in, prevail in