Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 26, 2018)
1. India set to be third largest aviation market
India will be the third largest aviation market globally a year sooner than was earlier predicted. It is now expected to be among the top three countries by 2024 from its current seventh position, according to global aviation body IATA.
In its latest 20-year forecast for the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that air passenger numbers worldwide could double to 8.2 billion in 2037.
The biggest contribution in this growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region, which will account for half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years.
While China will climb up one spot to displace US as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s, India will take the third place by surpassing the U.K. around 2024, according to the IATA forecast.
By 2037, India is expected to add 414 million passengers to its existing 572 million passengers, the report added.
In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth at the rate of 4.8%, followed by Africa (4.6%) and west Asia (4.4%).
2. Army set to create new positions as part of overhaul
The Army’s biggest reform exercise since independence to rightsize the force and reduce mounting revenue expenditure is likely to see creation of new positions of a third Deputy Chief of Army Staff and a Director General of Strategic Communications, among other measures.
“The Directorate of Strategic Communications, in addition to the existing Directorates of Military Operations and Military Intelligence, are likely to be moved under a new Deputy Chief of Army Staff,” a defence source said.
The Army currently has two Deputy Chiefs, one for information systems and training and another for planning and systems.
The force is undertaking four studies for its overhaul. At the Army Commanders’ Conference earlier this month, it was decided that the “studies would be implemented progressively in a phased manner.”
The four studies are for restructuring of Army Headquarters (HQ), restructuring which includes cutting down the strength, cadre review of officers and review of terms and conditions of Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and Other Ranks (OR).
“The focus of the studies is holistic integration to enhance the operational and functional efficiency, optimise budget expenditure, facilitate force modernisation and address aspirations,” the Army had said earlier.
Apart from the new vacancies, other big changes in the offing include having Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs); shifting the Director General Military Training in the Army HQ to the Army’s Training Command at Shimla; reorganising several overlapping divisions at the Army HQ and rightsizing the force over the next 6-8 years.
In the next step, all the points made at the Commanders conference will be integrated into the study.
“Then they will be sent for feedback, which will be incorporated and the plan finalised,” the source stated and added that for the IBGs, once the feedback is received, one formation will be identified and the new concepts tested for validation before finalising.
While finalising the reorganisation of the Army HQ is likely to take 2-3 months, the concept of Integrated Battle Groups is expected to be finalised in 6-8 months.
3. Aim and shoot for a citizen-science repository of Indian mammals
Scientists and researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore have come up with a new citizen-science repository on Indian mammals, called Mammals of India (MaOI), which is an online, peer-reviewed, freely-accessible portal that was launched late September 2018. By October 25, as many as 768 images of 161 species of mammals were uploaded.
“So far, there was no portal exclusively for mammals. These photographs will help us in having distribution map of mammals in the country,” Vivek Ramachandran of NCBS told The Hindu.
As per current estimates, 426 species of mammals are found in India; of them 47 species are endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
In one month, this citizen-science initiative has seen photographs of rare species — such as Red Serow from Manipur, Asian Golden Cat from Arunachal Pradesh and Binturong, also known as bear cat, from East Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh — being shared for the benefit of researchers and public alike. The website provides an opportunity to anyone to upload photographic observations on mammals to be reviewed by experts and uploaded on the website.
4. Digital boards will change education, says Javadekar
The launching of ‘Operation Digital Board’ across 15 lakh classrooms in the country in the next four years will change the face of education in the country, said Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar.
Speaking at the third edition of Excellence in Education conclave organised by The Hindu group in association with Blue Star here on Thursday, Mr. Javadekar said, “We get valuable inputs from such events to raise the educational standards in the country. The media is not just a loudspeaker but has to critically examine government programmes and come up with new suggestions so that the country is benefitted and enriched.”
5. J&K Governor to end health cover contract
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that his administration will terminate the contract granted to Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd., a month after the government rolled out a Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme for employees, pensioners and accredited journalists of the State.
The Governor’s administration had rolled out the insurance scheme on September 20 this year. It had announced that the government had tied up with Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd. on an annual premium of ?8,777 and ?22, 229 for employees and pensioners respectively.
The government had said Reliance General Insurance, headed by Anil Ambani, won the contract to provide health insurance cover to Jammu and Kashmir staff after a “rigorous and transparent competitive tender process”.
Many employees have already paid their first instalment for the policy, cumulatively running into around ?25,000 crore.
6. SCARF award for The Hindu journalist
The Hindu’s Mumbai-based correspondent Jyoti Shelar has won the first place in the English category of Schizophrenia Research Foundation’s (SCARF) media for mental health reporting award.
Ms. Shelar’s report on suicides by farmers and the resultant impact on the mental health of their families won her the award.
S. Ramanathan of The Newsminute and Disha Shetty of The Wire were the other two winners.
Usha Narayanan’s interview with a medical professional on addressing issues due to domestic problems and N. Maheswari’s review of a documentary film on autism were chosen for awards in the Tamil category.
Sudha Seshayyan, physician and orator, who distributed the awards at a function organised by SCARF here on Thursday, appealed to journalists to feature stories and articles that cater to the travails of the younger age group, especially those stepping into adulthood.
Jaya Sreedhar, chairperson of the SCARF awards committee, opined that a little more emphasis could be given to the scientific discussion in the media on medical treatment given to persons with mental health issues.
7. Centre’s push to promote higher education
The Centre on Thursday announced two schemes to promote higher education research in India: IMPRESS, dealing with social science research projects and coordinated by the ICSSR, and SPARC, involving foreign collaboration mainly in science research, coordinated by IIT-Kharagpur.
8. India stands to suffer most from climate change. A road map to transit quickly to a near-zero carbon economy
Even at the time of its signing in 2015, it was clear that the Paris Agreement on climate change would not be enough to avoid global warming of 1.5° C over pre-industrial temperatures. In fact, early analyses revealed that the collective effect of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) would result in 3-5° C of warming. More recently, there has been mounting pressure on India to raise its pledges further. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 1.5° C has come at a time when there are multiple alarms for India. Another study in Nature Climate Change identifies India as the country with the most expected damage from rising levels of carbon dioxide. How should India respond?
India’s NDC is already ambitious and it has made decisive changes in its energy sector. Meanwhile, the U.S. has pulled out of the climate treaty, and the support of Australia and Brazil teeters on the outcome of their respective elections. Some countries are also doing less than they claim. According to Kevin Anderson at the University of Manchester, with aviation, shipping and trade counted, the U.K. has made no reduction to its greenhouse gas emissions.
9. Cream skimming
This refers to a business practice where a company decides to serve only customers who can add a substantial amount of profits to the company’s bottom line. This means that companies may only serve customers who are willing to buy high-priced services or services that can be produced at a low cost. Low-value customers who cannot pay an attractive price for a product or choose only to purchase products with high production costs may thus be pushed out of the marketplace by companies. While the practice has been criticised as discriminatory, some have argued that low-value customers may still be served by other profit-seeking firms.
10. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA)
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is an Indian law aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
11. Govt. notifies rules on granting citizenship
The Union Home Ministry has empowered the Collectors of certain districts in seven States to accept online applications to grant citizenship to “persecuted minorities” from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living in India.
A parliamentary committee has been examining the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which proposes to grant citizenship to six persecuted minorities: Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before 2014.
As the Bill is pending, the Home Ministry gave powers to the Collectors in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to grant citizenship and naturalisation certificates to the migrants under Sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. No such power has been delegated to Assam officials.
Under the new rules, notified on October 24, the migrants can apply online, and the verification reports or the security clearance reports of the applicants shall be made available to the Centre through an online portal.
Citizenship will be granted after the verification reports are received from the States and the Centre.
12. China, Japan to partner in building Asia infrastructure
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in China on a reset visit that is expected to trigger significant collaboration between Tokyo and Beijing in developing infrastructure in Asia.
Soon after his arrival, Mr. Abe was accorded a reception, hosted by his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, at the Great Hall of the People. The function was held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the China-Japan treaty of friendship.
“Japan and China are playing an indispensable role in the economic development of not just Asia but the world,” Mr. Abe said during his speech at the function.
Mr. Abe will be accorded a ceremonial welcome on Friday morning and will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the day. “This is a breakthrough visit, important not just for the China-Japan relations, but whose significance would be felt in the region and the world,” Huang Jing, Dean of the International and Regional Studies Center at the Beijing Language and Culture University, told The Hindu.
During Mr. Abe’s talks with Chinese President Xi and Prime Minister Li, the leaders are expected to seek areas of convergence between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Japan’s concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Analysts say that they are expected to discuss joint development of infrastructure in Asia and Africa during the talks.
13. ‘Russian arms will be unrivalled’
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia plans to commission new military weapons that would be unrivalled throughout the world.
His statement follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that he intends to opt out of a 1987 nuclear arms control pact due to alleged Russian violations.
Mr. Putin has denied any breaches and accused the U.S. of violating the pact. “Russia doesn’t threaten anyone, and has strictly adhered to its obligations in the sphere of international security and arms control,” he reiterated while speaking at a meeting with top military officers and law enforcement officials. At the same time, he said Russian arsenals would be modernised to ensure protection from potential threats.
14. Ethiopia appoints its first woman President
Ethiopia on Thursday appointed a woman as President for the first time. Lawmakers picked career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde to replace Mulatu Teshome, who resigned in unclear circumstances.
15. Centre invites EoI to buy out Bridge & Roof co.
The government on Thursday invited bids from investors for buying out 100% stake in PSU construction firm Bridge & Roof Company. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has asked interested bidders to submit their Expression of Interest (EoI) for buying the company by December 25, 2018. The company had posted a Profit after Tax (PAT) of ?16.37 crore and total revenue of ?1,751 crore in 2016-17.
16. Bravo calls time on international career
A big-hitter on the field and a hit DJ off it, West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo on Thursday retired from international cricket to prolong his career as a professional player available for T20 franchise events all over the world.
The 35-year-old Bravo played 40 Tests, 164 ODIs and 66 T20Is since making his debut back in 2004.
“I want to confirm to the cricket world that I have officially retired from international cricket in all formats of the game. I will continue my professional career as a cricketer and entertainer living as a true champion,” Bravo said in a statement.
“After 14 years when I made my debut for the West Indies, I still remember that moment I received the maroon cap before walking onto the Lords ground against England in July 2004. The enthusiasm and passion I felt then, I have kept with me throughout my career.”
17. Pooja wins bronze
Pooja Dhanda won her maiden World wrestling championship medal by overcoming Grace Jacob Bullen in their 57kg bronze medal playoff bout here on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Indian bested the Norwegian 10-7 to add to the Commonwealth Games silver won earlier this year.
She is the fourth Indian woman grappler after Alka Tomar (2006), Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat (2012) to win a bronze at the Worlds.
National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA)
19. Things to Remember:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Confirm or support (something which has been questioned)
Example – ‘the court upheld his claim for damages’
Synonyms – confirm, endorse, sustain, validate, ratify, verify, vindicate, justify, approve
Meaning 1.1 – Maintain (a custom or practice)
Example – ‘they uphold a tradition of not causing distress to living creatures’
Synonyms – maintain, sustain, continue, preserve, protect, keep, hold to, keep alive, keep going, strengthen, nurture