Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (October 11, 2018)
1. How was decision on Rafale made, asks SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to submit details of the decision-making process in the Rafale deal with France in a sealed envelope by October 29. A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, clarified that it was not asking for information on the price of the fighter jets and technical particulars.
“We are not on the issue of pricing and suitability of the Rafale jets but only on the decision-making process,” the Bench, also comprising Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph, said.
Rafale is a twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation, a French firm.
2. Cyclone Titli to make landfall in Odisha
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said cyclone Titli, that originated in the Bay of Bengal, became a “very severe cyclonic storm” on Wednesday and was likely to make landfall, gusting at about 145-165 kmph in Odisha, on Thursday.
“It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coasts between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam around the morning of 11th October. Thereafter, it is very likely to re-curve northeastwards, move towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually,” said a statement by the IMD.
An IMD scientist said that 20-30% of tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal were recurving: instead of moving northwards and westwards, they took a turn eastwards.
3. Now, an institute for aspiring politicians
Good news for aspiring politicians. They will soon have an institute in Ghaziabad to learn the nuances of the profession, the Uttar Pradesh government said on Wednesday.
The decision to establish a sprawling political training institute at a cost of ₹198 crore was taken on Wednesday at the State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“The Cabinet has approved establishment of a political training institute in Ghaziabad at a cost of ₹198 crore. It has also made a provision of ₹50 crore for the first phase of the institute to be set up on 60 bighas of land,” Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna told reporters.
“This will be a first-of-its-kind institute in the country,” he added.
A to Z training
The courses are being designed for the institute and will impart A to Z training to those planning entry into politics and also to the elected representatives, the Minister said.
The institute will also offer lectures by prominent political personalities, including ambassadors, heads of states and other experts.
The location of the institute has been selected in the National Capital Region so that those coming to Delhi can easily plan a visit there, the Minister said.
The institute will be run by the Urban Development Department of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Khanna said, adding that discussions are on with various national universities for its recognition so that its degrees have value and weight.
The institute will become operational in the next two years, he said, adding that a committee has already been formed to decide its curriculum.
4. U.P. govt. announces 5% discount on khadi clothes
The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday announced a “special 5% discount” on the purchase of khadi clothes in view of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
5. Govt. sets water flow target for river Ganga
In a first, the Union government has mandated the minimum quantity of water — or ecological flow as it’s called in scientific circles — that various stretches of the Ganga must necessarily have all through the year. The new norms would require hydropower projects located along the river to modify their operations so as to ensure they are in compliance.
In a notification on Wednesday, the National Mission for Clean Ganga has laid down the flow specifications. The upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain: 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March, which is the dry season; 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.
For the main stem of the Ganga — from Haridwar to Unnao — the notification specifies minimum flow at various barrages: Bhimgoda (Haridwar) must ensure a minimum of 36 cubic metres per second (cumecs) between October-May, and 57 cumecs in the monsoon; and the barrages at Bijnor, Narora and Kanpur must maintain a minimum of 24 cumecs in the non-monsoon months of October-May, and 48 cumecs during the monsoon months.
6. A ‘MeToo’ moment for rivers
Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister, Uma Bharti, on Wednesday likened the government’s initiative to mandate a minimum flow for the Ganga as a “MeToo moment” for Indian rivers.
“All rivers in India would say ‘MeToo’ and would want that such standards be imposed for them [to restore their health] as we have done for the Ganga. Women and rivers must not be taken lightly,” she told a press conference accompanied by Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The government has, for the first time, mandated that parts of the Ganga must have a minimum quantity of water — or ecological flow as it is called in scientific circles — at all stretches, all through the year.
7. Relief for students seeking college admission
The UGC has directed that colleges will no more retain original documents of students seeking admission and will have to refund the admission fee of students who get admission in another college, provided they apply for refund in time. The UGC has taken these steps to make it easier for students to choose a better college.
8. Data on fatalities and injuries must jolt the government into action
The Road Accidents in India report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for 2017 comes as a disappointment. By reiterating poorly performing policies and programmes, it has failed to signal the quantum shift necessary to reduce death and disability on the roads. It expresses concern at the large number of people who die every year and the thousands who are crippled in accidents, but the remedies it highlights are weak, incremental and unlikely to bring about a transformation. The lack of progress in reducing traffic injuries is glaring, given that the Supreme Court is seized of the issue and has been issuing periodic directions in a public interest petition with the assistance of the Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee constituted by the Centre. Little has been done to fulfil what the Road Transport Ministry promises: that the Centre and the States will work to improve safety as a joint responsibility, although enforcement of rules is a State issue. That nothing much has changed is reflected by the death of 1,47,913 people in accidents in 2017. To claim a 1.9% reduction over the previous year is statistically insignificant, more so when the data on the rate of people who die per 100 accidents show no decline. Even more shocking is the finding that green commuters — cyclists/pedestrians — now face greater danger on India’s roads, with a rise in fatalities for these categories of users of 37% and 29% over 2016, respectively.
9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit to Tokyo later this month.
10. Long tail
This refers to a strategy through which businesses can maximise their revenue and profitability by selling a large variety of low-volume but high-value niche products instead of just a few varieties of high-volume but low-value mainstream products. The idea was popularised by British journalist Chris Anderson through his 2006 book The Long Tail. Anderson argued that due to the fall in distribution and other costs associated with traditional retail after the rise of the Internet, the modern marketplace is transforming rapidly from a place for mass products to one where there are numerous niche products.
11. Vacated Indian school in Jeddah to reopen
Days after students of the Indian International School in Jeddah (IISJ) Boys Section were evicted after a Saudi court ruling in favour of the owner of the premises, official interventions by the Indian consulate and the Saudi Ministry of Education helped resolve the issue, officials have confirmed.
School authorities also credited a massive social media campaign run by students of the school for building pressure on all sides to negotiate.
Students are expected to be able to rejoin their old school within two weeks. The deal will allow the Boys school to retain the premises till July 2019, sources said, after which the Embassy and officials would have to renegotiate their rental agreement.
The future of about 4,200 boys, forced to move out last week after an eviction notice by Jeddah authorities to the school, had become uncertain following the court ruling in favour of the owner of the premises. The students had been made to move suddenly into the “second shift” of the girl’s school of the IISJ, set up in 1969, and which has a total student body of 11,000.
All classes of boys and girls at the primary school had been shut down until further notice. The situation had been made worse for the students because they were appearing for exams at the time.
Students say they are particularly happy they did their bit to try and get the school premises back, by running a social media campaign along with the alumni.
12. Nirmala begins France visit today
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will begin a three-day visit to France on Thursday during which both sides are expected to deliberate on further boosting their defence and security ties.
Ms. Sitharaman’s visit comes against the backdrop of a huge controversy over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.
Officials sources said Ms. Sitharaman would hold wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart, Florence Parly, on ways to deepen strategic cooperation between the two countries and also deliberate on major regional and global issues of mutual interests. Ms. Sitharaman will also take stock of progress in the supply of 36 Rafale jets by Dassault to the Indian Air Force under a ₹58,000-crore deal. There was indication that she may even visit the facility where the jets are being manufactured, the sources said.
In their talks, Ms. Sitharaman and Ms. Parly are expected to deliberate on joint production of military platforms and weapons by the two countries.
13. Tushar Mehta is new SG
Almost after a year since the vacancy arose, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday appointed senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as Solicitor General of India, a key legal position to represent the State or Central governments in courtroom proceedings.
His appointment notification was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved it. As per the notification, he has been appointed with effect from the day of assumption of charge of the office for a period till June 30, 2020.
Mr. Mehta has been Additional Solicitor General since mid 2014 when he was appointed to the post after the BJP-led NDA government came to power.
Though Mr. Mehta was considered front-runner for the coveted legal post, delay of almost a year suggests that there was apparently lack of consensus on his name for the position.
14. NRC: Gurkhas can’t be detained
The Centre has told the Assam government that Gurkhas living in the State cannot be sent to detention centres. Nor could their cases be tried at the Foreigners’ Tribunals.
An estimated 1,00,000 of some 2.5 million Gurkhas in Assam had not found their names in the updated draft list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on June 30.
A senior Home Ministry official said the Election Commission had referred the cases of some Gurkhas to the Foreigners’ Tribunals as their names were included in the voters’ list, in contravention of the India-Nepal Treaty signed in 1950 that bars them from Indian citizenship.
Under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, only Indian citizens are eligible to vote.
In a communication sent to the Assam government, the Ministry said the Gurkhas who were Indian citizens at the time of commencement of the Constitution, or those who are Indian citizens by birth, or those who have acquired Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, are not “foreigners” and therefore, such cases will not be referred to the tribunals. The Ministry issued the clarification following a representation from the All Assam Gurkha Students’ Union to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
15. Bonus for Railway employees
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the payment of productivity-linked bonus equivalent to 78 days’ wages for eligible non-gazetted Railway employees, excluding RPF and RPSF personnel, for 2017-18. The outgo will be ₹2,044.31 crore, and 11.91 lakh employees are likely to benefit, a statement said.
16. Italian PM to visit India on October 30
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will visit India on October 30 to deepen bilateral cooperation in a range of sectors including trade, investment and aerospace. Making the announcement, the External Affairs Ministry said his visit would be part of the celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Italy. It will be Mr. Conte’s first visit to India after taking over as Prime Minister in June.
17. Centre launches artificial limb camps abroad
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday formally launched the “India for Humanity” initiative to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The External Affairs Ministry has launched the year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries, a press statement read. It is collaborating with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti.
18. China revises controversial anti-terror regulations
Anti-terror efforts in the controversial “reeducation centres” in China’s Xinjiang region will be governed by new standardised rules, as international criticism mounts over the detention of as many as one million in the restive far west.
The revised rules, passed on Tuesday, call on local governments to tackle terrorism by establishing “vocational education centres” that will carry out the “educational transformation of people who have been influenced by extremism.”
The centres should teach Mandarin Chinese, legal concepts and vocational training, and carry out “thought education,” according to a copy of the rules posted on the regional government’s website.
As many as a million people are believed to have been detained in extra-judicial detention centres in Xinjiang as authorities there seek to battle what they describe as religious extremism, separatism and terrorism.
A previous version of the rules issued in March 2017 included a long list of prohibitions on religious behaviour, including wearing long beards and veils.
It also encouraged local governments to engage in “educational transformation”, a term critics have described as a euphemism for brainwashing. The detentions have mostly focussed on the region’s Muslim minorities, especially the Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group that make up around half of Xinjiang’s population of 22 million. The new regulations seem aimed at standardising the centres’ management, which was initially carried out piecemeal.
Beijing has denied reports of the mass detention of its citizens in camps, but evidence is mounting in the form of government documents and testimonies from former detainees. Chinese authorities have, however, said that they give vocational and language training to people guilty of minor crimes.
19. New law to compensate war victims in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Wednesday passed legislation to pay compensation to victims of the island’s brutal civil war, nearly a decade after the end of the conflict which claimed 1,00,000 lives.
The legislature voted 59-43 to approve a broad reparations Bill, which seeks to establish an independent office that will compensate survivors as well as victims’ next of kin.
Former strongman President Mahinda Rajapakse’s followers voted against the Bill, arguing that it amounted to compensating separatist Tamil rebels who were crushed in a no-holds-barred military campaign in May 2009.
The long-delayed legislation had been a key demand of international observers urging reconciliation in the island nation, where divisions between minority Tamils and majority Sinhalese persist. The office will decide on potentially tens of thousands of compensation claims from those afflicted by fighting, which ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels.
20. RBI board gets two new directors
The government has appointed Sachin Chaturvedi, who heads Delhi-based think tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), in place of Nachiket Mor on the central board of the Reserve Bank of India.
Revathy Iyer, a former Indian Audit and Accounts Services officer, was also nominated to the RBI board, along with Mr. Chaturvedi. Both are appointed for a period of four years with effect from September 19, 2018.
With these appointments, RBI will now have 18 members on its central board, including four deputy governors and the governor.
The Economic Affairs Secretary and Financial Services Secretary of the Finance Ministry are also on the board. Mr. Chaturvedi was also appointed as member of the Eastern local board of RBI with effect from September 19, while Ms. Iyer was appointed to the Northern local board.
The board members are not responsible for setting the interest rate, but will provide a broader guidance to the central bank.
21. Govt. clears closure of 2 jute PSUs
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the closure of National Jute Manufactures Corporation and its subsidiary Birds Jute & Exports Ltd.
“Disposal of fixed assets as well as current assets will be in accordance with the guidelines of DPE dated June 14, 2018 and the proceeds from the sale of assets, after meeting the liabilities, will be deposited in Consolidated Fund,” the Centre said. “In accordance with the DPE guidelines dated June 14, 2018, a Land Management Agency (LMA) will be engaged for disposal of assets,” it added. “The LMA will be directed to carry out a thorough verification of the assets before undertaking their disposal in accordance with the DPE guidelines.” The Centre said that the benefit of this decision would be that the exchequer would not be burdened with the expenditure of keeping the two PSUs running.
22. Bharat Forge, NTPC JV initiates liquidation
State-run NTPC on Wednesday said its joint venture with Bharat Forge has initiated a voluntary liquidation process under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). “BF-NTPC Energy Systems (BF-NTPC), a 49:51 joint venture between NTPC and Bharat Forge, has initiated a voluntary liquidation process under IBC, 2016 in its extraordinary general meeting held on October 9,” NTPC said.
23. Archer Harvinder wins gold
Harvinder Singh won India’s maiden archery gold in the Asian Para Games by finishing on top in the men’s individual recurve event even as the country also picked up three silver and four bronze medals on day five of competitions here.
Harvinder defeated China’s Zhao Lixue 6-0 in the W2/ST category final to take India’s gold tally to seven.
Para-athletics, chess table tennis gave India three silver medals on Wednesday, while the bronze medals came from para-powerlifting, besides para-athletics.
Monu Ghangas claimed silver in men’s discus throw F11 category with a throw of 35.89m before Vijay Kumar claimed the second spot in the men’s long jump T42/T61/T63 category with a leap of 5.05m. Mohammed Yasser then fetched a bronze in the men’s shot put F46 category with a heave of 14.22m.
In table tennis 3-5 category, the women’s doubles combination of Bhavinaben Patel and Sonalben Patel lost the final to Indonesia’s Asayut Dararat and Paattarvadee Wararidamrongkul 11-4, 14-12 for a silver medal.
The chess board delivered a silver and two bronze medals with Jennitha Anto clinching the women’s individual P1 category silver before combining with Prema Kanishri for the team bronze in the same category.
In the women’s team standard VI — B2/B3 category competition, the trio of Mrunali Prakash, Megha Chakraborty and Tijan Punaram settled for a bronze. A bronze trickled in from para-powerlifting where Sudhir finished third in the up to 80kg category with a lift of 192kg.
24. Sikkim on shortlist for FAO prize
Sikkim’s achievement in becoming the world’s first totally organic agriculture State in India has won it a place on the shortlist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Future Policy Award. The FAO said that the award would celebrate policies that create enabling environments for sustainable agriculture.
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
26. Things to Remember:
Tushar Mehta is new SG (Solicitor General) of India
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
27. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning 1 – Restore (a dead person) to life.
Example – ‘he queried whether Jesus was indeed resurrected’
Synonyms – raise from the dead, restore to life, bring back to life, revive
Meaning 1.1 – Revive or revitalize (something that is inactive, disused, or forgotten)
Example – ‘the deal collapsed and has yet to be resurrected’
Synonyms – revive, restore, regenerate, revitalize, breathe new life into, give the kiss of life to, give a new lease of life to, reinvigorate, renew, resuscitate, awaken, wake up, rejuvenate, stimulate, re-establish, relaunch, reinstitute