The Hindu – September 21, 2018
1. Sushma to meet Pakistan’s Foreign Minister in New York
India on Thursday accepted Pakistan’s proposal for talks between the Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the ongoing annual UN General Assembly session in New York.
India’s response came within hours of the news that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed talks between the two senior Ministers. However, India said the talks would not be aimed at a broader scheme of dialogue.
The MEA spokesperson emphasised that despite agreeing to the meeting, India stuck to its position that talks and terror could not go together.
However, the issue of Pakistan facilitating visits by Indian pilgrims to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara is expected to feature at the meeting.
2. Varsities to observe ‘Surgical Strike Day’ on September 29
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to the Vice-Chancellors of all universities to celebrate Surgical Strike Day on September 29 to mark the event along the Line of Control that day in 2016. The letter also desires that students pledge their support for the armed forces in writing that day.
“All higher education institutions with NCC units shall organise a special parade on September 29, after which the NCC commander shall address them on the modalities of protection of the borders,” says the UGC letter. “The university/colleges may organise a meeting, calling ex-servicemen who will sensitise the students about the sacrifices made by the armed forces in protecting the borders.”
Plea to institutions
The letter also issues an instruction to students: “The students shall pledge their support for the armed forces by writing letters and cards, which may be produced in both physical and digital format.” These letters of support, it says, will be publicised in the conventional and social media.
The UGC letter says that physical letters of support so received may be sent to nearby cantonments and shared with Army officers visiting various colleges to meet students. It also asks institutions to encourage their students and faculty to visit the multimedia exhibition to be organised at India Gate in Delhi or in State capitals, important towns and cantonments across India.
3. Punjab rural polls: EC orders repolling in 53 booths
The Punjab State Election Commission on Thursday ordered re-polling for the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samitis in 53 polling booths of eight districts across the State.
According to the spokesperson of the State Election Commission, re-polling has been ordered in 36 polling booths of Muktsar Sahib, 8 polling booths in Amritsar, one booth each in Moga, Fazilka and Faridkot districts and two booths each in Patiala and Bathinda and Ludhiana districts.
Voters can recast their votes on September 21 in these polling stations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4. Punjab nod for FRBM Act implementation
The Punjab Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval to rules for implementation of the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003.
“The move will help the State achieve specific fiscal targets within a stipulated time period to avail of the benefits of the Centre’s Debt Consolidation and Relief Facility for States,” said an official statement.
Model draft bill
The Act was framed by the Centre on the basis of the model draft bill circulated by the Reserve Bank of India, suitably amended from time to time. As per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, each State is compulsorily required to enact a fiscal responsibility legislation to realise the desired targets.
The Cabinet also reviewed the arrangements and preparedness for the paddy procurement season beginning October 1. “Arrangements are being made to procure the expected 200 lakh metric tonnes of paddy,” said the statement.
It also gave its approval for setting up of a ropeway between Anandpur Sahib and Naina Devi in public-private-partnership mode to promote tourism in the State.
5. H.P. digitises State gazettes
Himachal Pradesh has digitised all State gazettes from the year 1953 to 2007, an official spokesperson said here Thursday.
The printed gazettes from 1953 to 2007 have been digitalised, indexed and uploaded online in the public domain by Himachal Pradesh Secretariat Library.
The gazettes from 2007 onwards have already been published online.
The spokesperson further stated that the State gazettes were published in both Hindi and English.
6. Sex offenders’ registry launched with 4.4 lakh entries
The first-of-its-kind national sex offenders’ registry launched on Thursday has names and details of some 4.4 lakh people convicted for various sexual offences across the country.
The database is for those convicted for sexual offences 2005 onwards. It includes name, address, photograph and fingerprint details of the convict. A Home Ministry statement said the database would not compromise any individual’s privacy.
India became the ninth country in the world to have a National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), accessible only to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of “investigation and monitoring”. The proposal to set up a registry was mooted by the UPA government after the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi.
The database will be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau, that will also track whether the State police were updating the records on time. The database will include offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders Act (POCSO) and eve teasing.
7. Nearly one lakh winged visitors arrive at Bengal sanctuary
The number of winged visitors at the Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinjapur district has crossed all previous records. As per a census carried out by the State Forest Department, the wildlife sanctuary, spread over 130 hectares, recorded 98,532 birds this year.
“This the highest number of birds which has visited Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary over the past several years. What is encouraging is that the number of migratory birds is increasing every year,” Dwiparna Kumar Dutta, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Raignaj, told The Hindu.
According to Mr Dutta, the sanctuary has one of the highest numbers of Openbill stork population not only in India but in Asia and this makes the sanctuary unique. “Of the 98,000 birds about 67,000 are Openbill storks. Then there are cormorants, night herons, little egrets, flycatchers, owls and other species,” he said.
Birds visit the Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary in June and stay till November, when the temperature drops.
The sanctuary, which is also known as the Kulik Bird Sanctuary, drawing its name from the river Kulik, attracts a large number of tourists every year, including birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Situated near Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal, the sanctuary is home to 164 bird species.
8. A dozen lions die in Gir forest
Around a dozen lions have died in Dalkhania range of Gir forest in Amreli district of Gujarat within a week.
According to sources, eight lions died owing to infections, one due to food poisoning and three due to infighting.
9. Duty to defend
The Rewari and Kosli Bar Associations in Haryana have passed resolutions that none of their members will defend the accused in the recent case of gang-rape of a teenage girl from Rewari district. This resolution is wholly illegal, and goes against the decision of the Supreme Court in A.S. Mohammed Rafi v. State of Tamil Nadu (2010). That decision declared null and void a resolution of the Coimbatore Bar Association that none of its members will defend policemen who had allegedly assaulted some lawyers.
Several Bar Associations in India have passed resolutions that their members would not defend persons accused of heinous crimes. The Supreme Court declared all such resolutions to be wholly illegal, against all traditions of the Bar, and against professional ethics. The court observed, “Every person, however wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he may be regarded by society has a right to be defended in a court of law, and correspondingly it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.”
10. Protecting persons with HIV/ AIDS
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act of 2017 safeguards the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a notification to bring the Act into force from September 10.
The Act was born out of an urgent need to prevent and control the virus and syndrome. It has highlighted the necessity for effective care, support and treatment for HIV and AIDS. The Act spawns from the commitment to the global community under the Declaration of Commitment on Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (2001) for enhanced coordination and intensification of national, regional and international efforts to combat the virus and syndrome in a comprehensive manner.
The statute aims to provide equal rights to persons with HIV and bring them into the mainstream. The Act gains importance as it makes it a legal obligation to protect the privacy of persons with HIV and AIDS.
The law addresses discrimination meted out to persons with HIV and AIDS. It fortifies the health and medical health-care system for them and introduces legal accountability along with formal mechanisms to inquire into complaints and redress grievances.
The Act lists various grounds on which discrimination against persons with HIV is prohibited. These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health-care services, standing for public or private office, and insurance.
The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.
The Act provides that every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household. The Act prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them. Section 37 makes such propagation of hatred punishable with a term of imprisonment which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to two years, with fine which may extend to ₹1 lakh.
As per the provisions of the Act, every person in the care and custody of the state shall have the right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counselling services.
11. Capital structure
This refers to how a firm uses debt and equity in different proportions to finance its operations. Some firms might finance most of their operations through the use of debt while others may be debt-free and be completely financed through equity capital provided by the owners. A firm with a relatively high proportion of debt financing its operations compared to the size of its equity is generally considered to be riskier than one that is financed primarily through equity. At the same time, since the use of leverage helps to multiply the size of overall gains, the use of debt can help the owners of a firm earn a higher return on their investment.
12. Pak. invites Saudi Arabia to be third partner in CPEC
Saudi Arabia will be the third “strategic partner” of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a senior Pakistani Minister announced on Thursday, soon after Prime Minister Imran Khan returned from his first foreign trip to the cash-rich kingdom. The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
Pakistan has invited Riyadh to join the CPEC as the third “strategic partner”, The News quoted him as saying.
Saudi Arabia’s Finance and Energy Ministers will visit Pakistan in the first week of October, Mr. Chaudhry said.
He said the projects that Saudi Arabia would be investing in the CPEC will be smoothed out during the Saudi delegation’s visit.
China has rejected accusations that its financial backing for the CPEC was a “debt trap” that could compromise cash-strapped Pakistan’s sovereignty.
The CPEC is the fastest-moving and flagship project of President Xi’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The CPEC aims to construct and upgrade the transportation network, energy projects, a deep-water port at Gwadar and special economic zones to eventually support Pakistan’s industrial development as a manufacturing hub by 2030.
13. SBI seeks to resolve 7-8 stressed power assets
State Bank of India hopes to resolve 7-8 stressed power assets with an exposure of about ₹17,000 crore during the breather given by the Supreme Court till November 11, SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said on Thursday.
The Supreme Court has asked the banks to maintain status quo and not to initiate insolvency proceedings against defaulting power companies till November 11, 2018, when it would hear the case again.
During this period, the lenders would be able to resolve stressed assets.
“On my radar, there are 7 or 8 projects. We are working only on that. If there is 100% consensus among the lenders, only then it (resolution of stressed power assets) would happen,” Mr. Kumar said. About any resistance from the lenders to resolve the stressed assets, he said, “They are all at various stages of approval. So, at this stage, it is not the right statement to say that there is resistance.”
14. E-com firms to cut 1% tax in supplier payments
E-commerce firms will from October 1 have to deduct 1% tax collected at source (TCS) before making payments to their suppliers. The Finance Ministry on Thursday notified TCS at the rate of 0.50% of the net value of intra-State taxable supplies made through e-commerce portals by other suppliers in the Central Tax law. States too would follow suit and notify levy of 0.50% SGST on intra-State supplies.
15. Purandeswari appointed to Air India Board
The Centre has appointed BJP leader D. Purandeswari as an independent director on the board of Air India Ltd. on Thursday. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved
Ms. Purandeswari’s appointment as a non-official independent director on the national carrier’s board for a period of three years, according to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training.
16. BPCL awaits Centre’s nod for Numaligarh refinery expansion
State-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has sought the government’s nod for threefold expansion of its Numaligarh refinery in northeast from 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 9 mtpa at a cost of ₹22,000 crore.
The company has sought capital subsidy and excise concession from the government for the refinery project. The double-digit rise in fuel consumption in the northeast, one of the highest in the country, has propelled this expansion.
“Numaligarh refinery is awaiting government nod as we are looking for some incentives. The project cost is around ₹22,000 crore. northeast is strategic for the government. We are ready and are hoping to get government approval any time now so that we can start work,” R. Ramachandran, BPCL Director – Refinery, told The Hindu. The company also plans to export products to Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar with the refinery expansion. Numaligarh refinery is pursuing plans to lay a 135-km petroleum product pipeline from its terminal at Siliguri in West Bengal to Parbatipur in Bangladesh.
“We are laying a friendship pipeline to Bangladesh and plan to export our products to Bangladesh through this pipeline. Bangladesh will be a big market for us besides catering to the northeast, where demand in growing in double digits. We are also planning to export products to Nepal and Myanmar,” Mr. Ramachandran said. The company plans to procure crude from Paradip in Odisha, where IOCL has a refinery.
17. Anshu gets bronze
Anshu Malik beat Russia’s Alina Kazymova 11-5 to win bronze at the junior World wrestling championship here on Thursday. Anshu had lost her semifinal by technical superiority to Sae Nanjo of Japan.
In the 57kg category, Mansi will fight for a bronze. She had an impressive run till the semifinals, winning both her bouts by technical superiority, before losing by a fall to Andoriahanako Sawa from Japan.
18. Wrestling coach Yashvir dead
Noted wrestling coach Yashvir Singh passed away here on Thursday. He was being treated for a kidney-related ailment.
Yashvir was the only Indian to have been decorated with the award of best coach by FILA.
Yashvir was Sushil Kumar’s coach when he won his first two international titles — World cadet championships in England and Poland.
In season 3 of the Pro Wrestling League, Yashvir, who was honoured with the Dronacharya award in 2012, had coached the UP Dangal team.
19. ‘Carbon taxes key in climate fight’
Fighting global warming will necessarily require taxing carbon emissions, or setting a price on carbon pollution, the World Bank’s chief executive said on Wednesday at a G7 environment meeting in Canada.
“We believe very strongly that we can send an economic signal by introducing a shadow price for carbon,” Kristalina Georgieva said, referring to a method of calculating a price per tonne of carbon that includes the social costs of pollution. At least 46 countries and 26 sub-national governments have established a carbon pricing policy as of April 1.
National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders Act (POCSO)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
21. Things to Remember:
External Affairs Minister of India – Sushma Swaraj
Foreign Minister of Pakistan – Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai
Rugby World Cup 2019, in Tokyo, Japan
22. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen.
Example – ‘he felt apprehensive about going home’
Synonyms – anxious, alarmed, worried, uneasy, nervous, concerned, agitated, restless, edgy, on edge, fidgety, tense, strained, stressed, neurotic, panicky, afraid, scared, frightened, fearful, terrified