Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 05, 2018)
1. ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar quits
Chanda Kochhar, the managing director and chief executive officer of private sector lender ICICI Bank, has called it quits.
The development comes even as the Srikrishna committee, which is probing charges of conflict of interest against her, is yet to officially submit its findings to the bank’s board.
The lender has named Sandeep Bakhshi as the new MD & CEO and handed him a five-year term till October 3, 2023.
The appointment is subject to regulatory approvals.
2. International Science fest to begin on Friday
More than 6,000 delegates from all over the country will participate in the fourth edition of the India International Science Festival (IISF) beginning here on Friday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said.
3. Use your face to zip through airports
A mere facial scan will soon enable air travellers to skip long queues and zip through various check points at airports in the country. The Centre is set to introduce the “Digi Yatra” facility at the Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports in February.
The facility, which is voluntary, would require passengers to initially register themselves on a web portal by providing identity proof, Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, R. N. Choubey told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
The travellers would then be required to undergo a one-time verification at an airport. Following this, the individual’s facial identity would be captured and mapped onto a newly created “Digi Yatra” profile and a distinct identification number would be generated.
Passengers would then have to provide this identification number at the time of purchasing an air ticket, to avail the paperless access facility.
Scan a QR code
The Ministry’s “Digi Yatra” initiative, or biometric-enabled digital processing of passengers, would enable travellers to enter the airport building by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones, after undergoing facial recognition. Once inside the airport, a passenger would be able to self check-in, drop baggage, pass through e-gates to access security and embarkation areas with just a facial scan, thus obviating the need to produce a boarding pass at every step.
4. Single engine aircraft for commercial flights
Aviation safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed the use of single engine aircraft for commercial flights, provided the route includes a landing site within gliding range, in case of engine failure.
The move follows a demand from operators to allow the use of single engine aircraft in the government’s regional connectivity scheme.
The relaxation of norms is for both aeroplanes and helicopters for scheduled commuter air transport operations or commercial flights, according to the circular issued by the DGCA on September 27.
The DGCA requires a mandatory safety risk assessment for single engine operations. Where this is not feasible, the operator should ensure there is no water body, hostile environment or congested area en route.
5. Permanent body to take care of CLAT
To streamline the conduct of the annual Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), a consortium of National Law Schools has decided to set up a permanent body.
CLAT, an all-India common entrance examination, was conducted on a rotational basis by 19 National Law Universities (NLUs) for admissions to their undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.
The entrance exam will now be conducted by the newly formed executive committee of the consortium.
Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor of the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, said this proposed arrangement could give the much-needed stability to the conduct of the CLAT.
6. A geographically separate population of Asiatic lions needs to be created
The magnificent Asiatic lion is under threat. Twenty-three lions have died in as many days in the eastern part of Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary. While mass mortalities in wildlife are always a cause for concern, this case is even more worrisome as the big cat population in Gujarat is the last of the Asiatic lions in the wild.
In 2013, the Supreme Court had issued an order that lions from Gujarat be relocated to the Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as a check against the threat of epidemic. But even wild animals are subject to State politics. Gujarat has been unwilling to part with its lions, calling them “its pride” in an affidavit.
Following the series of deaths, preliminary reports said that the cats have been killed by disease, most likely to be infectious. Some others have died due to poisoning and infighting. On October 3, the Supreme Court, noting that the death of so many lions was a serious matter, asked the Central government to look into it.
7. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia have unveiled strategies to forge closer economic ties with India
Asia is in a state of flux. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is reshaping the region’s geography, with roads and railways traversing Eurasia and new ports dotting the Indian Ocean basin. Beijing’s militarisation of the South China Sea continues, despite negotiations towards a code of conduct.
Japan has found itself in an unexpected leadership position, resuscitating the Trans-Pacific Partnership and concluding a trade agreement with the European Union. Tokyo is now contemplating constitutional revisions that would enable it to play a more overt military role.
Amid these unfolding events, another series of developments risks being overshadowed. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia have all unveiled strategies to diversify their economic interdependence, away from mainland China and towards Southeast Asia and India.
The motivations appear to be manifold. The most recent is the ongoing trade and tariff war between the U.S. and China. A longer-term concern is Beijing’s use of its economic muscle for political purposes, whether in suspending rare earth metal exports to Japan in 2010 or punishing a major South Korean corporation for Seoul’s decision to install a missile defence system in 2017. China’s limited market growth potential and questions of access and reciprocity are additional considerations.
To this end, Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy is meant to diversify investments to more promising markets in Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. For his part, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has unveiled a New Southern Policy. Mr. Moon said during his visit to New Delhi that while the policy is focussed on Southeast Asia, it also “makes India Korea’s key partner for cooperation”. Similarly, Taiwan, a G20-sized economy whose political status is disputed, has announced a New Southbound Policy with significant accompanying investments in India by Taiwanese electronics manufacturers.
Finally, Australia’s government has commissioned an ambitious India Economic Strategy with the goal of making India its third-largest investment destination and export destination by 2035. While not driven by short-term necessities, political concerns are increasingly informing economic preferences.
8. Four new National Institutes of Design are to be set up
The Union Cabinet in September approved amendments to the National Institute of Design (NID) Act of 2014 for the setting up of four new institutes in Amaravati, Bhopal, Jorhat and Kurukshetra.
The proposal is a calibrated move to produce highly skilled manpower in design. The 2014 Act, which provided statutory backing to the Ahmedabad NID would, with parliamentary nod, extend to the four new NIDs.
9. Yield management
This refers to a pricing strategy where the prices of goods are set according to the intensity of consumer demand at any point in time. Airline seats, for instance, are sold at different prices on different days based on what travellers are willing to pay. Critics of yield management argue that it is an unfair business practice that needs to be banned as it exploits consumers. Its supporters, however, believe that effective yield management helps to maximise the revenue of the seller and also makes sure that scarce resources are allocated to the most urgent needs.
10. Amid U.S. threat, India, Russia set to sign three major deals
Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Delhi on Thursday for the annual India-Russia summit which could see the signing of military deals totalling close to $10 billion; a 24-hour visit that could have lasting implications for the India-U.S. relationship as well.
On Friday, India and Russia are expected to conclude three major military deals: for five S-400 missile systems estimated to cost about ₹39,000 crore (more than $5 billion), four stealth frigates and a deal for Ak-103 assault rifles to be manufactured in India. The U.S. has warned that the deals could attract sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law that restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea.
India has been in negotiations with the U.S. administration for a “sanctions waiver”, but American officials have given no clear signal they will provide one. Last month, President Donald Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on China as it started taking delivery of Su-35 jets and S-400 systems.
The breadth of agreements, including the S-400 deal, during Mr. Putin’s visit is seen as a reiteration of India’s desire for “strategic autonomy” that was highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech this year. It comes a month after the inaugural 2+2 dialogue with the U.S., in which India signed the third foundational agreement — Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) — in addition to announcing several measures to operationalise the Major Defence Partner status, indicative of the difficult balance India hopes to maintain amid deepening U.S.-Russia tensions.
11. Rohingya handed over to Myanmar
Seven Rohingya Muslim men, arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Assam, were on Thursday officially handed over to Myanmar authorities at Manipur’s border town Moreh. The deportation from the immigration point at Moreh Gate No. 2 took place at 1 p.m. soon after the SC rejected the plea to intervene in the case.
Immigration officials from Tamu, the Myanmar town nearest Moreh, took custody of the seven men after completing the formalities with their Indian counterparts and police officials from Assam and Manipur.
The Myanmar officials were Aung Myo, Tamu District Immigration Officer, and Maun Maun Tar, Tamu Town Shed Officer. On the Indian side of the border, Moreh Sub-Divisional Police Officer M. Sandip Gopaldas, Immigration officer Md. Tajuddin Khan and P.V.V. Rakesh Reddy, Additional SP of Assam’s Cachar district, led the proceedings.
The Rohingya usually enter India from three townships in Myanmar – Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in Northeastern Rakhine State that borders Bangladesh.
12. Disabled to be provided transport for polling
The Election Commission has issued directions for making available proper transport facility for persons with disabilities at all polling stations. The District Electoral Officers, or the Returning Officer, have been made responsible for the entire transportation exercise. The Commission had also issued orders for issuing voter slips with Braille features for visually impaired persons.
13. R.N. Ravi made Deputy National Security Adviser
The government on Thursday redesignated R.N. Ravi as Deputy National Security Adviser (Internal Affairs) and interlocutor of the government of India in Nagaland. Mr. Ravi was earlier Chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee, and interlocutor.
14. Sirisena orders release of all Tamil civilian lands by Dec. 31
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered the release of all the Tamil civilian lands held by the State in the country’s northern and eastern provinces by December 31, the President’s Office said on Thursday. Sri Lanka witnessed three decades-long civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), during which the military occupied civilian lands in the northern and eastern provinces for military purposes.
Since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009, a considerable part of private lands were released to the original owners.
15. Srinivasan Swamy is new IAA chairman
Srinivasan K. Swamy, chairman RK Swamy Hansa Group, has taken charge as the chairman and world president of International Advertising Association (IAA) for a period of two years.
He is the first Indian to hold this post in the 80-year-old history of the institution that has presence in 76 countries. He took charge from Felix Tataru at a board meeting held in Romania on Thursday.
A doyen of the advertising industry, he is currently the vice chairman of Asian Federation of Advertising Associations. Prior to this, he was president, Advertising Agencies Association of India for a period of three years and president IAA India Chapter for four years.
16. Sundar nominated as FIDE vice-president
D.V. Sundar, vice-president, All India Chess Federation, has been nominated as the FIDE vice-president at the congress held at Batumi, Georgia, on Wednesday.
17. NatGeo show to tell Kalam’s life story
A week before A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s 87th birth anniversary, which falls on October 15, National Geographic will delve deep into the life history of the former Indian President in the ongoing Mega Icons series. The October 8 episode of the series will showcase the late missile scientist’s setbacks and successes.
Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
National Institute of Design (NID) Act
International Advertising Association (IAA)
19. Things to Remember:
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha
Deputy National Security Adviser (Internal Affairs) – R.N. Ravi
20. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Make (someone) ecstatically happy.
Example – ‘I felt elated at beating Dennis’
Synonyms – thrilled, exhilarated, happy, delighted, overjoyed, joyous, gleeful, excited, animated, jubilant, beside oneself with happiness, exultant, ecstatic, euphoric, rapturous, in raptures, enraptured, rapt