Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 04, 2018)
1. Lagoon villas for Lakshadweep
NITI Aayog plans to boost island tourism
Lagoons with luxurious water villas is not something India is known for. But there is now a plan to come up with a popular alternative to leading destinations such as Mauritius and Maldives, if the government’s plan for “holistic development of the islands” is any indication.
NITI Aayog, along with other stakeholders, including the Island Development Agency (IDA), which is chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, is conducting a technical feasibility study.
The Diglipur airport (in the Andamans) is also expected to be operational for civilian aircraft by December 2018.
2. ‘Rafale a booster dose for IAF’
The acquisition of the Rafale fighter jets and the S-400 air defence system will go a long way in addressing the depleting squadron strength of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa said on Wednesday.
India and Russia are expected to conclude an agreement for five regiments of the S-400 Triumf air defence system on Friday during the annual bilateral summit.
ACM Dhanoa flagged the falling fighter squadron strength as the biggest concern. Calling the deal for 36 aircraft a “bold decision” of the government, he said the Rafale would be a “game-changer” when it came to the subcontinent.
3. Ranjan Gogoi taking charge as CJI in New Delhi on Wednesday.
4. Forgo S-400 system, U.S. tells India
The U.S. on Wednesday urged India to forgo its proposed deal to buy the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, warning that the deal could attract American sanctions.
New Delhi and Moscow are expected to announce the deal this week during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to India, starting Thursday.
The U.S. administration is required under a domestic law, Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, to impose sanctions on any country that has “significant transactions” with Iran, North Korea or Russia. President Donald Trump has the power to waive these sanctions. President Trump can waive sanctions for specific countries and specific transactions, and U.S. officials have repeatedly said in the recent past that India should not expect an automatic waiver if it goes ahead with the purchase from Russia.
5. ICJ to hear Kulbhushan case in February 2019
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold public hearings in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case from February 18 to 21 next year at , a statement issued by the principal judicial organ of the United Nations said on Wednesday.
Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India moved the ICJ in May the same year against the verdict.
A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
“The hearings will be streamed live and on demand (VOD) in English and French on the Court’s website as well as on UN Web TV, the United Nations online television channel,” said the press release issued by the ICJ.
6. NHAI rapped for not maintaining green cover along highways
The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday came down heavily on the National Highways Authority of India for not maintaining green cover along national highways.
Rapping the NHAI for not implementing the policy to maintain a mandatory green cover along the highways, a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “You are befooling everyone. You are not planting trees. All highways have marriage places along the road instead of trees. Why are you allowing construction along the highways?”
The green panel’s observations came following a plea moved by an NGO, Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions and Promotion of National Awareness, that sought execution of an earlier order of the tribunal.
The petitioner NGO was seeking execution of the September 2017 NGT order where the NHAI had assured that its Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy will be implemented.
7. Nagaland CM launches vaccination campaign
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday launched the Measles-Rubella Vaccination Campaign (MRVC) in the State targeting to vaccinate 4.72 lakh children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years during the next five weeks.
8. Himachal High Court gets new Chief Justice
Justice Surya Kant was on Wednesday appointed Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, nearly nine months after the Supreme Court collegium recommended his name for the post. The post of Chief Justice of the High Court had been lying vacant since April, 2017.
9. Genes of famed big cat Machhli to be mapped
A team of geneticists, conservation biologists and wildlife officials are in the process of preparing a genetic map — that is, tracing out the sequence of genes — from Machhli’s DNA, which was extracted at the time of her death.
“Machhli is an iconic individual, has lived long, has sired a large number of cubs and, because the tigers at Ranthambore are highly inbred, she would serve as an excellent example of the species. Plus, we were lucky to get permits and ideal tissue samples at the right time,” said Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, who is leading Machhli’s genome analysis.
10. Steps eased to spruce up railway stations
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the redevelopment of railway stations by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) as a nodal agency through simplified procedures and longer lease tenure of up to 99 years.
Being the nodal agency, IRSDC will prepare the overall strategic and business plans for individual stations or a group of stations, ensuring cost neutrality.
“Redevelopment of major stations is planned by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the station,” an official statement said.
Passengers will get amenities on a par with global railway stations, it said.
In June 2015, the Cabinet had approved redevelopment of ‘A1’ and ‘A’ category stations for a lease period of 45 years. But there was lack of interest among prospective bidders.
11. Centre’s nod for mental health institute in M.P.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the setting up of the National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore. The latest approval revises a government decision in May which chose Bhopal as the location.
12. What are SLR, CRR, and LCR?
SLR, or statutory liquidity ratio, is a measure of the reserves that commercial banks are required to hold in the form of government bonds, gold, and similar liquid assets. CRR, or cash reserve ratio, is a measure of the reserves that banks need to hold in the form of cash. LCR, or liquidity coverage ratio, is a measure of highly liquid assets which can easily be converted into cash that banks are required to hold. All three are policy tools used by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to influence the total amount of reserves held by banks at any point in time. These reserve requirements, in turn, influence the amount of loans that banks can extend to borrowers. So when the RBI tightens reserve requirements, banks are forced to cut down lending and this causes money supply in the economy to shrink. Money supply rises when reserve requirements are eased by the RBI.
Why are they in the news?
The RBI last week allowed banks to classify an additional 2% of the value of their SLR investments in government bonds as high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs). The move, which could increase the overall amount of assets that can be classified as highly liquid reserves by banks, can increase bank lending and ease the availability of funds in the economy. It is estimated that the latest easing of SLR norms by the RBI can release ₹2.5 lakh crore into the economy. The decision to reclassify SLR assets is part of the RBI’s emergency measures to improve the availability of liquidity in the economy. Borrowers like non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) have had to borrow at higher rates after investors turned cautious after infrastructure lender IL&FS’s default. The RBI hopes that increased bank lending can help ease the crisis.
13. Bond laddering
This refers to an investment strategy where bonds with different maturity dates spread out into the future are used to build an investment portfolio. This is done in order to contain risk while reinvesting the money. When a certain bond investment matures, an investor looking for further returns has to find an alternative investment that would yield returns at least equal to his previous investment. If all bonds in his portfolio mature at the same time, it increases the amount of money that is exposed to reinvestment risk. This risk can be significantly minimised by diversifying investments across time.
14. Guterres lauds Modi for climate action
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred the Champions of the Earth Award by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a ceremony here on Wednesday.
Mr. Modi said the “honour is the result of the commitment that the people of India have towards the environment.”
Mr. Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were among others conferred the Champions of the Earth Awards, the UN’s “highest environmental honour.” Mr. Modi is the third Indian after Tulsi Tanti, the Chairman of the Suzlon Group, and Afroz Alam, a lawyer who led the clean-up at Mumbai’s Versova beach, to be given the award.
The Cochin International Airport also received the UN award on Wednesday for ‘Entrepreneurial Vision,(and) for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.’
15. Karmapa acquires Dominica passport
Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, has acquired the citizenship of Dominica, a Caribbean country, to travel around the world, a senior government official said on Wednesday. He is the second most important Tibetan monk after the Dalai Lama.
There were reports that the Karmapa had refused to return to India from the U.S. where he has been living for more than a year amid travel restrictions imposed on him by the Indian authorities. Some officials in the intelligence agencies are wary of the Chinese influence on him.
The Karmapa acquired the Dominica passport for “ease of travel”. His continued stay there has worried the agencies. The Central Tibetan Administration issues identity certificates, which enables Tibetans to travel abroad as they do not have passports.
16. SC upholds validity of GST Act
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the validity of the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act of 2017 for levy and collection of tax on inter-State supply of goods or services or both by the Centre.
The court also upheld the legality of the Goods and Services Tax Compensation Cess Rules, which also came into existence last year.
The 2017 Act subsumed various indirect taxes, Central and States’ surcharges and cess as far as they are related to supply of goods and services, both within and outside the States.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan confirmed the legislative competence of Parliament to enact the 2017 Act.
17. Air India to launch six new flights
Air India will launch six new flights this month to New York, Frankfurt, London, Bangkok and Jaipur as part of its plans to better utilise its aircraft, some of which have been lying idle for the past several months due to lack of funds for maintenance.
The airline will introduce a flight each on the Kolkata-Bangkok and Kolkata-Jaipur sectors from October 15. With effect from October 16, the airline will start flights on the Bangalore-Bangkok, Bangalore-London and Mumbai-Frankfurt routes.
Mumbai will also get a direct flight to New York from October 28, which will be a six-day service.
18. In blow to Trump, UN court tells U.S. to ease Iran sanctions
The UN’s top court ordered the U.S. on Wednesday to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran in a stunning setback for U.S. President Donald Trump.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague handed Iran a major victory, saying the stinging economic sanctions put Iranian lives at risk.
Mr. Trump reimposed the sanctions in May after pulling out of Iran’s international nuclear deal to the dismay of his allies.
The ICJ judges ruled that the sanctions on some goods breached a 1955 “Treaty of Amity” between Iran and the U.S. that predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
19. Trio gets Chemistry Nobel
Two Americans and a Briton won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday for harnessing the power of evolution to produce novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents and biofuels to cancer drugs.
The fruits of this work include the world’s top-selling prescription medicine — the antibody injection Humira for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Frances Arnold of the California Institute of Technology, George Smith from the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter of Britain’s MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology were awarded the prize for pioneering science in enzymes and antibodies.
Ms. Arnold, only the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel, was awarded half of the $1 million prize while Mr. Smith and Mr. Winter shared the other half.
Ms. Arnold is the second woman to win a Nobel prize this year after Canada’s Donna Strickland. Her research on enzymes led to the development of better industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Mr. Smith developed a method using a virus that infects bacteria to produce new proteins while Ms. Winter used the same technique for the directed evolution of antibodies.
20. Vietnam nominates party chief for President
Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party has agreed to nominate its general secretary, Nguyen Phu Trong, as president of the Southeast Asian country, the government said on Wednesday.
21. Floor price for rabi crops hiked
In what should come as a boost to farmers, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved raising the minimum support prices of rabi crops such as wheat, barley, gram, masur, rapeseed and mustard, and safflower for 2018-19.
“Giving a boost to farmers’ income, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all rabi crops for 2018-19 to be marketed in 2019-20 season,” the government said in a release.
“The farmer friendly initiative will give additional return of ₹62,635 crore to the farmers by way of increasing MSP of notified crops to at least 50% return over cost of production and will aid in doubling farmers’ income.”
“With the new umbrella scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan’ (PM-AASHA) announced by the government, there is a robust mechanism available to enable farmers realise the MSP in fuller measure,” the government said. “The umbrella scheme consists of three sub-schemes i.e. Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS) on a pilot basis.”
22. HOEC signs contract with govt. for exploration block in Assam
Hindustan Oil Exploration Company Ltd. (HOEC) has signed a revenue sharing contract with the Government of India for the exploration block in Assam it won under the Open Acerage Licensing Policy (OALP) Bid Round I.
The bid round-I of OALP was launched in January 2018 under the liberalised Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).
23. PIN code a must for e-way bill
Tightening the norms for issuance of e-way bill, the GST Network has made it mandatory for businesses and transporters to mention PIN codes of places of loading and unloading of consignments.
Quoting of PIN codes will help in calculating the correct distance and determine the validity of the e-way bill, which is used by businesses to transport goods worth over ₹50,000 both within and outside a State, officials said. So far, businesses and transporters are required to broadly mention the distance and place of loading and unloading of consignments for generating e-way bill.
24. Dvorkovich is new FIDE president
Arkady Dvorkovich was elected the new president of FIDE (World Chess Federation) at the General Assembly here on Wednesday. He takes over from fellow Russian Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who was ousted in July.
The other office-bearers:
Deputy President: Bachar Kouatly; General Secretary: Sewa Enyonam Fumey; Vice-Presidents: Mahir Mammedov & Julio Granda Zuniga; Treasurer: Zhu Chen.
25. Strauss steps down from England director role
Andrew Strauss announced on Wednesday that he is standing down as England’s director of cricket following a period of compassionate leave. Strauss’s wife Ruth was diagnosed with cancer during the Ashes in December 2017 and he took a break from his position earlier this year after she began a new course of treatment.
26. Museum of Goa plans ‘flying art’
The Museum of Goa (MoG) Foundation will hold a “colourful flying exhibition” titled “Freedom is in the air” to celebrate the recent striking down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code by the Supreme Court, from November 10 to 30.
Celebrated Goan artist and sculptor Subodh Kerakar, Director of MoG, said the event will be held in collaboration with Hamsafar Trust and Goa Livelihood Forum in Pilerna in north Goa.
The Foundation has invited entries from artists across the country to create works of art in response to LGBTQ issues through an open call to participate in the exhibition.
27. Beatles recording engineer Emerick is dead
Geoff Emerick, who worked as recording engineer for the Beatles for many years and played an important role in the creation of Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and other albums has died. He was 72. Abbey Road Studios confirmed the death on Wednesday.
Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)
UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)
Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC)
NextGen Genomics, Biology, Bioinformatics and Technologies (NGBT)
Measles-Rubella Vaccination Campaign (MRVC)
NHAI – National Highway Authority of India
29. Things to Remember:
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio
Chief Justice Of India – Ranjan Gogoi
30. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Go without (something desirable)
Example – ‘she wanted to forgo the tea and leave while they could’
Synonyms – do without, go without, give up, waive, renounce, surrender, disavow, relinquish, part with, drop, sacrifice, forswear, abjure, swear off, steer clear of, abandon, cede, yield, abstain from, refrain from, eschew, cut out
Meaning 1.1 – Refrain from.
Example – ‘we forgo any comparison between the two men’