Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 31, 2018)
1. Statehood sought for Assam’s Barak Valley
A students’ organisation has advocated statehood for southern Assam’s Barak Valley because of a “sharp division” between linguistic groups created by the National Register of Citizens and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Barak Valley comprising three districts — Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj — is Bengali-dominated. The relationship between the people of this valley and the Assamese-dominated Brahmaputra Valley has been ambivalent.
“Organisations such as All Assam Students’ Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and pro-talks ULFA are making lives of Bengalis hell over the Citizenship Bill and NRC. It would be better if Barak Valley breaks away from Assam,” Pradip Dutta Roy, advocate and founder-president of the All Cachar Karimganj Hailakandi Students’ Association, said in Silchar on Tuesday.
He also said that the Assam beyond Barak Valley should be divided into three parts — Bodoland, NC Hills-Karbi Anglong and Kamatapur — to ensure peace.
“We don’t want to hurt the Assamese people. They can live in peace all alone,” Mr. Dutta Roy said, lamenting that CM Sarbananda Sonowal’s dream of unity between Barak and Brahmaputra valleys “will remain a dream”.
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said a few people have been driven by a divisive agenda to derail the NRC process.
2. Elevation of four judges to SC cleared
The Supreme Court Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, is learnt to have recommended the elevation of four judges to the apex court.
Sources said those recommended were the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court M.R. Shah; the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court Hemant Gupta; the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court R. Subhash Reddy; and the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court Ajay Rastogi.
The Collegium, also comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph, A.K.Sikri and S.A. Bobde, met on Tuesday.
After the Centre’s approval, the strength of judges in the top court would rise to 28 against the sanctioned strength of 31.
3. LionAir fallout: DGCA reviews B737 Max planes
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation reviewed the performance of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft with two domestic airlines, Jet Airways and SpiceJet, on a day Indonesia ordered an inspection of all planes of this variant, following Monday’s crash that killed all 189 onboard.
4. Universities and patents
Universities and patents benefit each other. Patents help universities to improve their ranking, establish an innovation ecosystem, incubate knowledge-based start-ups, earn additional revenue and measure research activity. In its biggest push to create entrepreneurial universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has now asked all universities in India to set up Intellectual Property (IP) Centres. As universities line up to set up these centres, they will face a strange human resources problem: despite the policy push to have more IP, we simply do not have enough IP professionals in the country.
The dearth of IP professionals is a problem related to the field of intellectual property itself. Its recent rise to prominence in the international arena, thanks to various international treaties and trade agreements, alongwith with the legal-centric approach where law schools and colleges are the only institutions which mandate teaching these subjects, are reasons why the supply of IP professionals is not keeping pace with demand. But there is a great opportunity now that should not be missed. The Central government conducts the only competitive examination in the country to check a person’s proficiency in IP. Fine-tuning the patent agent examination to cater to the growing IP needs of the country can be a successful way to build a band of professionals and create career opportunities.
On October 28, the Central government conducted the competitive examination to test proficiency in patent law, a type of intellectual property right (IPR), after a hiatus of two years. Any Indian citizen with a bachelor’s degree in science or technology can take the examination. Upon clearing it the person is entitled to practise before the Patent Office as a registered patent agent. Qualifying the exam allows science graduates to draft, file and procure patents from the Patent Office on behalf of inventors.
India witnessed significant changes in IPRs since the introduction of the National IPR Policy in 2016. The grants rates at the Patent Office have increased: in 2017-2018, there was a 32% increase in the number of patents granted compared to the earlier year. The Patent Office increased its workforce with the inclusion of 459 new examiners and is on the lookout for more. The timeline for filing responses to official objections for patents has been reduced by half. While the disposal rate has increased, the filing rate for patents has not changed significantly. In 2016-17, the Patent Office reported a dip of 3.2% in filing compared to the previous financial year.
5. Programmatic advertising
This refers to a form of digital advertising where advertisements are bought and sold by automated computer programs in an advertisement exchange. It is believed that this kind of advertising helps in better targeting of advertisements as technologies like artificial intelligence are used to assess the behaviour of consumers and offer advertisements accordingly. Programmatic advertising, which is considered by many to be the future of advertising, is in contrast to old styles of advertising where the placement and billing of advertisements were determined through human negotiations, which are prone to various human errors and other biases.
6. Sardar Patel Statue of Unity: all you need to know
Sardar Vallabhai Patel ‘Statue of Unity’ was inaugurated on October 31, 2018. It is 182 metres tall and is said to be the tallest statue in the world.
The statue is made up of 1,700 tonnes of bronze, 1,850 tonnes of bronze cladding, 70,000 metric tonnes of cement and 24,500 metric tonnes of steel.
It took 33 months to complete and was built at a cost of approximately ₹3,000 crore. Elevators will take tourists up to the statue’s chest, from where they can view the Narmada river and Sardar Sarovar Dam.
7. India invites Italian firms to invest in defence sector
India on Tuesday invited Italy to participate in the defence sector under the ‘Make in India’ scheme. The invitation was extended during the high-level discussion between visiting Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which also included an agreement to counter terror financing and state sponsors of terrorism.
“India invited Italian defence equipment manufacturing companies to invest in India under the Make-in-India initiative and to collaborate with Indian companies for design and construction of defence equipment,” said a Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of Mr. Conte’s visit.
India and Italy held the 9th Military Group Meeting earlier in October in which they agreed on cooperation in 2019. Tuesday’s announcement was the first time the two countries have agreed on joint defence production since the AugustaWestland case exploded in 2013. India’s Scorpene submarine project has suffered due to the controversy which left the submarines without the Black Shark torpedoes.
Mr. Conte’s visit is the first since he took charge in June 2018.
Mr. Conte also indicated support for India’s quest for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and underlined Rome’s support to India’s membership in the global technology export groups.
8. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
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.
9. Britain rejects Deepavali, Id holidays
The British government has stood by its previous rejection of creating public holidays for major Hindu and Muslim festivals on the grounds of costs, despite calls from MPs for change to reflect Britain’s increasingly diverse society.
Following a debate in the House of Commons on two public petitions that sought to make Id-ul-Fitr and Id-ul-Adha as well as Deepavali and Dasara public holidays in the U.K., the British government said it didn’t believe that these extra holidays were necessary, pointing to the costs to the economy of having these additional days, and the fact that Britain’s existing legislation provided sufficient flexibility for workers to be able to take time off. “As a government, we will continue to encourage business to respect people’s views and meet their needs,” said Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst.
MPs from across the political spectrum had made the case for the government to consider the introduction of these days as public holidays, noting that Britain had among the fewest public holidays in the Western world.
According to the 2011 census, there are 2.7 million Muslims (4.8% of the U.K. population) while there are 8,17,000 Hindus (1.5% of the population).
10. Indian-origin lawyer interviewed for key post
U.S. President Donald Trump interviewed Neomi Jehangir Rao, 45, to fill in the slot vacated by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the federal appeals court in Washington. Ms. Rao, currently administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, was recommended by ex-White House counsel Don McGahn, Axios website reported.
11. EU probes Tata Steel, ThyssenKrupp deal
The European Commission said on Tuesday it was investigating whether a planned joint venture between Indian steelmaker Tata Steel and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp could reduce competition in the high-end steel sector.
Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp are major producers of flat carbon steel and electrical steel with significant production facilities in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain. The proposed JV would combine their European carbon steel and electrical steel businesses and the Commission said that this raised concerns over their dominance in steel for cars, metallic coated steel for packaging and grain oriented electrical steel.
“The Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face a reduced choice in suppliers, as well as higher prices,” the EU executive said in a statement.
‘Competitive prices key’
“These customers include various European companies, ranging from major corporations to numerous small and medium-size enterprises,” it said.
The Commission now has until 19 March 2019, to take a decision. “Steel is a crucial input for many of the goods we use in our everyday life, and competitive steel prices are vital for the European economy,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
12. New Davis Cup format to our benefit: Bhupathi
The new format to be used in the 2019 Davis Cup qualifying rounds will work to the benefit of comparatively weaker sides like India, captain Mahesh Bhupathi believes.
Unseeded India hosts a strong Italy in the qualifying round in February next year, in a shorter two-day tie with best-of-three set rubbers. Ties were earlier held over three days, with five-set rubbers.
13. Sports scribe Sudarsan passes away
S. Sudarsan, Senior Assistant Editor (Sports) of The Hindu, passed away here on Tuesday morning. He was 43 and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
Sudarsan, who joined The Hindu Sports Desk in 2001, was a meticulous sub-editor with an eye for detail. A keen sportsman, who played cricket, tennis and football regularly, Sudarsan was a driving force behind many special football and tennis features in the sports pages of The Hindu. He had covered La Liga and Bundesliga for the newspaper.
An active member of the Tamil Nadu Sports Journalists Association (TNSJA), Sudarsan had led the South Zone cricket team to victory in the J.K. Bose tournament in Thiruvananthapuram last year. The Sports Journalists’ Federation of India and TNSJA condoled the demise of Sudarsan.
14. Advani moves into summit clash
Pankaj Advani stormed into the final of the Asian snooker tour’s second leg on Tuesday after impressive wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Advani cruised past Amir Sarkhosh of Iran 5-1 in the last eight stage with breaks of 75 and 80 break in the fourth and sixth frames. In the semifinal, he beat Pakistan’s Mohammed Bilal 5-1 after the latter had made it 1-1 after two frames.
University Grants Commission (UGC)
National Register of Citizens (NRC)
16. Things to Remember:
CM of Tripura Shri Biplab Kumar Deb
CM of Uttarakhand Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat
CM of Uttar Pradesh Shri Yogi Aditya Nath
CM of West Bengal Km. Mamata Banerjee
Governor of Tripura Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki
Governor of Uttarakhand Smt. Baby Rani Maurya
Governor of Uttar Pradesh Shri Ram Naik
Governor of West Bengal Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi
17. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Extremely impressive.
Example – ‘the most stupendous views’
Synonyms – amazing, astounding, astonishing, extraordinary, remarkable, wonderful, prodigious, phenomenal, staggering, breathtaking