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Current Events 24 May 2016

 

NEWS

24 MAY 2016


GS II: BILATERAL(INDIA-IRAN)

India to develop Iran's Chabahar port

India and Iran signed a series of agreements  that will allow New Delhi to use the port of Chabahar to access Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Two terminals

The first agreement, a bilateral, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s May 22-23 visit, will provide India the right to develop and operate two terminals and five berths with multipurpose cargo handling capacities in the port of Chabahar for 10 years. After the bilateral, Prime Minister Modi and Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani were joined by Dr. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, who sealed the agreement for Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor connecting Chahbahar with Afghan road and rail network.

The two countries also sealed 11 other agreements, covering culture, finance and conservation, during Mr. Modi’s official meetings with the Iranian President.

Pakistan circumvented

The agreement on Chahbahar will open a new route of commerce between India, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia.

The agreement is a tangible sign of India-Iran cooperation, say West Asian experts who also feel that India will have to draw benefits from the newly opened Iranian economy without getting drawn into the regional rivalries.


GS III: CYBER SECURTTY 

India Inc faces threats from cybercrime, terror, says study



GS III: SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY-(RLV) 

India tests native reusable vehicle

Taking baby steps towards developing a reusable launch vehicle capable of sending spacecraft into orbit and returning to the earth’s surface, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully tested the country’s first winged-body aerospace vehicle.

The technology, when developed completely, would launch spacecraft, including satellites, into space and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere withstanding extreme pressure and heat conditions and land in an intended spot, helping to cut costs on launch vehicles substantially.



GS II: HEALTH 

States told to withdraw tobacco packs without 85 p.c. pictorial warning

The Centre has set May 31 deadline for the States and Union Territories to withdraw from the market tobacco products whose 85 per cent packaging space is not covered with pictorial warning.

A communiqué from the Tobacco Control Division of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, dated May 20, 2015, has requested the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories to take steps for strict enforcement of the new rules on pictorial warnings.

The Pictorial Warning Rules under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) 2003 had come into force from April 1, 2016. The communiqué said that packages not compliant with the new rules be allowed for sale “only by printing, pasting or affixing the new warnings thereon covering 85 per cent of the principal display area.”



GS II: CENTRE-STATE RELATION

Centre owes over Rs. 81,000 cr. to States

The Union government owes over Rs. 81,000 crore to States as tax shares of last 10 years, according to a finding by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.

According to details of communication between the CAG and the Finance Ministry between 1996-97 and 2014-15, the Centre has failed to devolve to States Rs. 81,647.70 crore. In 2006-07, the Centre did not disburse Rs. 10,022.89 crore and in 2014-15, it went up to Rs. 17,322.14 crore. Almost every year has shown such shortages in disbursements.

The difference was discovered during an audit and certification process by the CAG of the net proceeds of taxes and duties for the period. Under Article 279 (1) of the Constitution, the CAG has to ascertain and certify the details of net proceeds of the Centre and its distribution to States.

The 80 amendment to the Constitution in 1996 made dramatic changes to the way taxes were shared by the Centre with the States. Prior to the amendment, taxes on income other than agricultural income and a part of union excise duties were only required to be shared with the States. However, the 80 amendment made it mandatory to share proceeds from other taxes and duties, such as corporate tax, customs, service tax and some aspects of union excise duties.




GS III: GM SEEDS 

GM seeds key to food security: Javadekar

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said the use of genetically modified (GM) technology for seeds is important for improving agricultural productivity and food security. 

GM mustard, likely to be the first food-related transgenic crop and developed as part of a research collaboration involving scientists at Delhi University, sits at an inflexion point with critics alleging that such technologies are unfit for human consumption and proponents arguing that such technology is critical for India’s future.

Committee set up

The Environment Ministry had constituted a Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee comprising biotechnologists, ecologists and sociologists to take a call on GM mustard.

Mr. Javadekar said the government was mooting a new Bill to impose strict fines and even jail terms for those violating industrial pollution norms.

Civil Penalties Bill was in the process of being reviewed after a round of comments and would soon be presented to the Union Cabinet for approval. The Bill would also have a provision to impose heavy penalties on government agencies, local bodies and state-run institutions.




GS II: INTERNATIONAL

Obama lifts arms ban in his first visit to Vietnam

U.S. President Barack Obama  lifted a decades-old arms export embargo on Vietnam during his first visit to the communist country, looking to bolster a government seen as a crucial, though flawed partner even as he pushes for better human rights from the one-party state.

Mr. Obama announced the full removal of the embargo at a news conference, saying the move was intended to step toward normalizing relations with the former war enemy and to eliminate a “lingering vestige of the Cold War.”

Mr. Obama is seeking to strike this balance with Vietnam amid Chinese efforts to strengthen claims to disputed territory in the South China Sea, one of the world’s most important waterways.



GS II: ENVIRONMENT-BS IV 

‘Improved tech can cut emissions’

Technology holds the key to achieving the government’s goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and oil imports by 10 per cent and introducing BS-VI-compliant fuel across the country,

New facility

The facility is used to mimic a full-scale refinery’s functioning on a smaller scale, thus allowing tests and new methods to be developed at a lower cost

BS-VI deadline

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has set a deadline of 2017 by which time all the vehicles in the country must be BS-IV-compliant and 2020 for the rollout of BS-VI fuel.

Key clients

Regarding the direct transition to BS-VI and the leapfrogging of BS-V — something car companies have pointed out as being a significant jump and difficult to implement 

Growing usage

Hydrocarbon usage in the country is growing rapidly and it is imperative that technology moves apace to ensure the damage to the environment is limited, he said.

 

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