+91 9004418746enquiry.aashah@gmail.com
+91 9004078746aashahs.ias@gmail.com

Current Events 03 May 2017

 

NEWS 

3 May 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA -USA

Infosys plans to hire 10,000 Americans

2.

GS II :  POLITY- JUDICIARY

Karnan issues warrant against CJI, six judges

3.

GS III:  DEFENCE 

HC grants Rs.55 lakh to MiG-21 pilot injured in 2005 crash

4.

GS I : CULTURE

A festival of drums with a message

5.

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA - AUSTRALIA

Modi expresses concern at Australia visa policy

6.

GS II:   GOVERNANCE AADHAAR

No invasion of body for UID, says govt

7.

GS II :  GOVERNANCE AADHAAR

New IT rules to beef up Aadhaar

8.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Hamas accepts pre-1967 border

9.

GS III :ECONOMY

Start-up firms may get idle land from PSUs

10.

GS III :ECONOMY

India to unveil new IIP series

11.

GS II : GOVERNANCE

‘Skill councils have conflict of interests'

12.

GS III :ECONOMY

Eclectic FPI mix drives Indian equities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

Infosys plans to hire 10,000 Americans

  • Infosys, India's second largest software company, said it plans to hire 10,000 American workers over the next two years.
  • As part of the initiative, Infosys will open four technology and innovation hubs across the country.
  • The firm said these hubs would focus on cutting-edge technology areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data.
  • These centres would also serve clients in key industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and energy.
  • The move assumes significance in the wake of an increasingly loud anti-offshoring campaign in the U.S. that has sought preference for locals in jobs than for immigrants.
  • Following up on his electoral promise, President Donald Trump signed an executive order for an overhaul of the visa system.
  • Democrat Senator Zoe Lofgren tabled a Bill to raise the minimum salary of an H-1B worker to $1,30,000 from the current $60,000.
  • According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), H-1B applications for 2017 fell below 2,00,000 for the first time in five years.
  • The USCIS received 1,99,000 applications in 2017, compared with 2,36,000 in 2016 - about 85,000 visas are granted annually through a lottery system.

 

GS II :  POLITY- JUDICIARY

Karnan issues warrant against CJI, six judges

  • Calcutta High Court judge C.S. Karnan on 2 May 2017 issued a non-bailable warrant against Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and six Supreme Court judges.
  • The seven judges were on the Bench which had issued a contempt of court notice against him.
  • The development comes a day after the Supreme Court ordered a medical examination to be conducted on Justice Karnan to confirm if he was "feigning mental imbalance".
  • Refusing to undergo medical tests as directed by the Supreme Court, he said the Supreme Court order was a "harassment order" and an "insult" to a Dalit judge like him.

 

GS II:  POLITY JUDICIARY 

HC grants Rs.55 lakh to MiG-21 pilot injured in 2005 crash

  • A serving Indian Air Force pilot who was injured in a MiG-21 crash in 2005 was awarded Rs. 55 lakh as compensation by the Delhi High Court on 2 May 2017 for being exposed to "unreasonable risk".
  • Holding that manufacturing defects and faulty workmanship of the fighter jet had led to the crash, a Bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma asked the government to pay Rs. 5 lakh and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Rs. 50 lakh to Wing Commander Sanjeet Singh Kaila, 46, within four weeks.
  • Allowing his plea for compensation, the court noted that putting the officers of the armed forces above what was "expected to be normal risk" was against the fundamental right to life, especially the right to work in a safe environment guaranteed by the Constitution.
  • It was the first time a crash survivor has taken on the government seeking redress.
  • A regular flight exercise in 2005 went awry, leaving Mr. Kaila with debilitating neck and back pain that has rendered him unfit for flying and even day-to-day activities.

 

GS I : CULTURE

A festival of drums with a message

  • The banks of the Bharathapuzha at Perumparamba, near Edappal, are set to reverberate with the sounds of the largest traditional percussion ensemble in Kerala, on May 7.
  • At the six-day crowdfunded event, over 600 instrumental music exponents including tribal and Dalit artists will play 35 types of instruments.
  • Exponents of ‘panchavadyam', ‘thayambaka', ‘melappadam', ‘villinmel thayambaka', ‘mizhavu' and ‘thudikottu', besides other instruments will be there at the event.

Panchavadyam

  • Literally meaning an orchestra of five instruments, is basically a temple art form that has evolved in Kerala.
  • Of the five instruments, four - timila, maddalam, ilathalam and idakka - belong to the percussion category, while the fifth, kombu, is a wind instrument.
  • Panchavadyam is characterised by a pyramid-like rhythmic structure with a constantly increasing tempo coupled with a proportional decrease in the number of beats in cycles.

 

Thayambaka

  • It is a type of solo chenda.
  • A Chenda is a cylindrical wooden drum, and has a length of two feet and a diameter of one foot.
  • It is a performance that developed in Kerala, in which the main player at the centre improvises rhythmically on the beats of half-a-dozen or a few more chenda and ilathalam players around.

Mizhavu

  • Mizhavu is a big copper drum played as an accompanying percussion instrument in the Koodiyattam and Koothu, performing arts of Kerala.
  • It is played by the Ambalavasi Nambiar community.
  • After 1965, the cast barrier having broken, anyone can play mizhavu in koodiyattam.

Koodiyattam

  • It is a form of Sanskrit theatre traditionally performed in the state of Kerala.
  • It is officially recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
  • It is the only surviving specimen of the ancient Sanskrit theatre.
  • It finds several mentions in ancient sangam literature.

Koothu

  • Koothu is an informal dance structure, which originated in Tamil land.
  • The performances generally depict scenes from ancient epics like Ramayana, Mahabharatha and other classical epics.
  • There are traditionally no dialogues, instead only songs.

 

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA - AUSTRALIA

Modi expresses concern at Australia visa policy

  • The issue of the visas came up when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 May 2017.
  • "Prime Minister Modi expressed concern about the possible impact of the recent changes in Australian regulations for the skilled professionals' visa programme. The two Prime Ministers agreed that officials from both sides will remain in close touch on the issue," said a government release.
  • This was the first telephone conversation since Mr. Turnbull's visit to Delhi in the first fortnight of April after which he announced the scrapping of the "457" visa policy that benefited skilled Indian IT workers.
  • As part of the new policy, the tenure of the visas was to be reduced from four to two years. The notification also announced an increase of visa fees.
  • Soon after the announcement, India had indicated that the move which came almost simultaneously with a similar step by the U.S. government on the H-1B visas, would impact talks on a trade pact.

 

GS II:  GOVERNANCE  AADHAAR

No invasion of body for UID, says govt

  • Taking fingerprints and iris impressions for Aadhaar is not an invasion of the body as the right of a person to his or her body is not absolute, the government told the Supreme Court on 2 May 2017.
  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi referred to the power of the state to take the life of a person, at which the Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan intervened to point out that the state can extinguish a person's life only after following the due process of law.
  • "The state has the duty to maintain the liberty of an individual. The state has, more importantly, the obligation to maintain the dignity of an individual. Dignity is an individual right," Justice Sikri told the Attorney-General.
  • Mr. Rohatgi defended the legality of the newly included Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and PAN card, saying that to live in a collective called the "state", one has to submit to its laws.

 

GS II : GOVERNANCE AADHAAR

New IT rules to beef up Aadhaar

  • To address privacy and security concerns over Aadhaar, the Centre is in the process of educating government agencies that sensitive data must not be made public, and is drafting amendments to the Information Technology (IT) Act to strengthen provisions for data protection and security.
  • Close to 135 million Aadhaar numbers and 100 million bank account numbers could have leaked from official portals dealing with government programmes of pensions and rural employment, according to a report by the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) published on 1 May 2017.
  • With Aadhaar being used to authenticate and authorise transactions, the financial risks presented by the disclosure of such data are greatly exacerbated, it said.

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Hamas accepts pre-1967 border

  • Hamas has softened its stance on Israel after long calling for its destruction, but the Palestinian movement must do more to convince the world to end its isolation, analysts and diplomats said.
  • The Islamist movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, unveiled a new policy document on 1 May 2017 night ahead of a first face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, whose Fatah party remains at loggerheads with Hamas.
  • Some analysts see the move as an attempt by Hamas to ease tension with regional allies and assuage hostilities with global powers.
  • While still attacking Israel, the document accepts for the first time pre-1967 armistice lines as a matter of "national consensus" - in what many interpreted as implicitly accepting the existence of Israel.
  • Hamas officials, however, said that it did not amount to a recognition of Israel as demanded by the international community.
  • The document also says its struggle is not against Jews because of their religion but against Israel as an occupier, with Hamas officials stressing it was a shift.
  • One Hamas leader, Ahmed Yusef, told AFP that the updated charter was "more moderate, more measured and would help protect us against accusations of racism, anti-Semitism and breaches of international law".

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY  POLICY

Start-up firms may get idle land from PSUs

  • The Heavy Industries Ministry is deliberating on a proposal to use large tracts of unutilised land owned by central public sector companies, which government plans to divest or sell, as ready-to-move-in industrial space for start-up companies.
  • Till recently, the average time for getting construction permits for businesses was 372 days, the Ministry said.
  • "There are many problems that manufacturing units face such as site selection and land acquisition.
  • "The PSU land will be readily available to companies looking to set up quickly," said another Ministry official.
  • In the concept paper, the Ministry cited the example of the government's loss-making auto company Scooters India Limited which it plans to divest soon.
  • The public sector company has land assets of around 147 acres, out of which around 125 acres are unutilised.
  • "It is located in one block on the side of Kanpur- Lucknow highway. Land could be used for manufacturing and pushing employment opportunity without lag time," the official added.
  • According to the proposal, Scooters India's 125- acre unutilised land can be valued at the market rate, converted into equity shares of Rs. 1 each and 51% of such shares offloaded to "consortium or single partner to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
  • "The SPV will be mandated to provide modern industrial infrastructure in compliance with required regulations and construct industrial sheds to match the requirements of different manufacturing or industrial units of less than 100 employees.
  • "Start-up companies are attracting young professional entrepreneurs to organise products and services for the market. This SPV will fill up this gap of providing the space for incumbent ideas to be immediately implemented," the official added.

 

GS III :ECONOMY  INDICATORS

India to unveil new IIP series

  • The new series for Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which captures industrial activities on monthly basis, will be launched.
  • A high-level panel had firmed up the methodology for the IIP with new base year of 2011-12.
  • Currently, the IIP is calculated on base year of 2004-05.
  • The change in baseline for the IIP is expected to bring in more accuracy in mapping the level of economic activity and calculating other numbers like national accounts.

 

GS II : GOVERNANCE POLICY

‘Skill councils have conflict of interests'

  • A board member of a government- funded apex skilling agency is also a training partner and a promoter of a skill council.
  • The son of the chairman of a sectoral skill council is a co-promoter of a training firm as well as an assessment agency that oversees the outcomes achieved on job placements by such firms in the same domain.
  • These are just two instances of conflict of interest among a dozen highlighted in a damning report on India's recent skill development initiatives through 40 sectoral skill councils set up under the aegis of the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC).
  • The Sharada Prasad Committee constituted by the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry to review, rationalise and optimise the functioning of sector skill councils has termed these councils a ‘hotbed of crony capitalism' that have tried to ‘extract maximum benefit from public funds.'
  • Citing several instances of conflict of interest in the councils' membership base, including those involving three NSDC board members, the panel has recommended that the Centre scrap all existing skill councils, many of which have overlapping roles and introduce an oversight mechanism on the NSDC, preferably from the central bank, as it is registered as a non-banking finance company.
  • "All these public funds have been used without serving the two basic objectives of meeting the exact skill needs of the industry and providing employment to youth," it noted.
  • "The Committee recommends that the Government should review the NSDC's role and functioning comprehensively with reference to its Memorandum of Association and create a strong oversight mechanism to ensure that such conflicts of interest do not arise in future," it said, stressing that the situation arose because NSDC is 100% government funded but accountable to a board that consists of a majority of private sector industry associations.

 

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) 

  • The National Skill Development Corporation, (NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private Partnership in India, under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
  • It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions.
  • NSDC provides funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives. Its mandate is also to enable support systems such as quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships.
  • NSDC acts as a catalyst in skill development by providing funding to enterprises, companies and organisations that provide skill training.
  • It will also develop appropriate models to enhance, support and coordinate private sector initiatives.
  • The differentiated focus for the 21 sectors under NSDC's purview and its understanding of their viability will make every sector attractive to private investment.

 

GS III :ECONOMY  INDICATORS

Eclectic FPI mix drives Indian equities

  • What do Trinidad & Tobago, Russia, Brazil, Greece, Cook Islands, Israel, New Zealand and Republic of Malta have in common?
  • One institutional investor from each of these countries has registered as a foreign portfolio investor (FPI) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), aiming to reap gains from the Indian equity market.
  • According to SEBI data, there are nearly 8,000 registered FPIs in India coming from almost 60 different countries across the world.
  • Not surprisingly, U.S. leads the pack with more than 2,700 registered FPIs, followed by Luxembourg (946), Canada (622) and Mauritius (572).
  • In all, there are 14 countries from where more than 100 FPIs have registered in India.
  • Incidentally, the number of FPIs domiciled in Mauritius was much higher and began to fall only after the benefits of double tax avoidance started to wean away.
  • Simply put, FPIs from Mauritius were not required to pay any tax in India before the rules were changed.
  • Market participants say that an increasing number of foreign investors are attracted to India because of the higher returns when compared with some of the other leading markets, including the emerging markets pack.
  • In the last 17 years since 2000, the Sensex has ended with losses only on five occasions (2000, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2015).
  • Data from National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL) shows that FPIs have been net buyers of Indian equity at Rs. 40,911 crore or more than $6 billion.
Back to Top