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Current Events 04 May 2017

 

NEWS 

4 May 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II:    GOVERNANCE - AADHAAR

SC puts critics of Aadhaar-PAN linkage in a spot

2.

GS II:   GOVERNANCE - AADHAAR

‘Data leaks not from UIDAI, but from States’

3.

GS II : GOVERNANCE  POLICY

DoT’s Tarang Sanchar Portal to clear the air over mobile tower emissions

4.

GS II: SOCIAL  WOMEN

Rs.21,000 fine on women using mobile phones in public in U.P. village

5.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT BIODIVERSITY

Endangered dholes to run free in Eastern Ghats

6.

GS III:  ECONOMY   NITI

NITI Aayog for teaching, more research

7.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA USA

White House hails Infosys hiring plan

8.

GS III:  DEFENCE

BrahMos missile achieves rare feat

9.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

SC seeks Khurshid’s advice in talaq case

10.

GS III: SOCIAL- EDUCATION

J&K students to get more scholarships

11.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL CHINA

China tightens rules for online news providers

12.

GS III : ECONOMY BANKING

Package to resolve NPAs gets Cabinet nod

13.

GS III :ECONOMY  SECTORS

National Steel Policy 2017 approved by centre

14.

GS III: ECONOMY  POLICY

Allocation to SAMPADA Scheme to decrease agro waste and modernise processing

15.

GS III : ECONOMY POLICY

Govt. mulls changes to UDAN scheme to attract more players

16.

GS III : S&T -SPACE

NASA’s inflatable greenhouse could feed astronauts on Mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II:   GOVERNANCE - AADHAAR

SC puts critics of Aadhaar-PAN linkage in a spot

  • Can a person who is voluntarily a part of a tax regime choose to say he will pay his taxes only in the certain way he wants to? Does he have a right to choose?
  • The question from the Supreme Court came even as the petitioners claimed that the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to PAN under the newly-included Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act is a "direct invasion" by the state into the citizens' right to make free, voluntary and informed consent.
  • Critics argued in the Supreme Court that Section 139AA is a "chilling trajectory the state has taken to dilute civil liberties."
  • Arguing before a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, the government compared the Aadhaar law to the Supreme Court's recent order making it mandatory for the public to stand up when the national anthem was played in cinema halls.
  • Counsel Arghya Sengupta, arguing for the government, said the court order might also have triggered conscientious objections.
  • "But the order is a law nevertheless. You may not want to stand up for the national anthem, but that does not mean you sit down," Mr. Sengupta argued.
  • The government said Aadhaar, rather than causing inequality, bolstered equality between honest taxpayers and those who had till now evaded tax.
  • Representing the petitioner Mr. Divan submitted that there was indeed a direct collision between the voluntary nature of the Aadhaar Act of 2016 and Section 139AA which made it mandatory for a person to possess an Aadhaar card to file income tax returns and continue to have a valid PAN.
  • Mr. Divan said a citizen is "entitled" and not "obliged" under the Aadhaar Act to obtain an Aadhaar card to access certain benefits.
  • He pointed to several provisions which mandate that the enrolling authority should first inform the citizen about where biometric details collected from him would be used.
  • The government further argued against the absolute right to "informational self determination".
  • The state seeks information at various points, including at the time of births, deaths and marriages.
  • Mr. Divan said even the Census Act, which took all kinds of personal data, did not allow disclosure of data collected even to a court of law.

 

GS II:   GOVERNANCE - AADHAAR

‘Data leaks not from UIDAI, but from States'

  • There has not been a single leak of Aadhaar card details from the UIDAI. The leaks of details may have been from the States... their offices and agencies," advocate Arghya Sengupta, counsel for the Centre, submitted in the court.
  • The Centre's clarification comes in the middle of reports that data of over 130 million Aadhaar cardholders have been leaked from four government websites.
  • Reports, based on a study conducted by the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), a Bengaluru-based organisation, said Aadhaar numbers, names and other personal details of people have been leaked.

 

GS II : GOVERNANCE  POLICY

DoT's Tarang Sanchar Portal to clear the air over mobile tower emissions

  • The Tarang Sanchar Portal will help clear myths and misconceptions with regard to mobile towers the Department of Telecom (DoT), Ministry of Communications, said on 3 May 2017 following the launch of the web portal.
  • A senior official of the DoT said the portal for sharing information on mobile towers and electromagnetic field (EMF) emission compliances empowers the common man person to know at the click of a mouse the mobile towers in a particular locality and whether they are compliant to the EMF emission norms defined by the government.
  • The launch of the portal assumes significance in Goa as people in many parts of the State have been opposing the setting up of towers owing to the risk of health hazards associated with it.
  • DoT has prescribed standards for electromagnetic emissions from mobile towers that are 10 times stricter than the standards prescribed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and those recommended by World Health Organization.
  • Though there is no scientific evidence of any health concerns from low power mobile base transceiver stations, the DoT felt a need to educate citizens about EMF emissions from mobile towers and status of their compliances.
  • The portal has a public interface with a map-based search feature which will help users view the mobile towers in any locality.
  • Detailed information about any tower site will be sent to email to the users on request.
  • Users can also seek information on the EMF emission at a location by paying an online fee of Rs. 4,000.
  • The tests will be conducted by the local Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) unit of DoT and the report will be submitted.
  • In addition to Government to Citizen (G2C) services, the portal facilitates Government to Business (G2B) service delivery in a transparent and eco-friendly manner.
  • The portal enables a method of maintenance and retention of end-to- end records, including submission of compliance by Telecom Service Providers and paperless processing by TERM cells.
  • It has the complete collated technical details of over 14.5 lakh base stations spread across the country.

 

GS II: SOCIAL  WOMEN

Rs21,000 fine on women using mobile phones in public in U.P. village

  • A village in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh has banned women from using mobile phones in public.
  • Any woman found to be talking on a mobile phone in public will have to pay a fine of Rs.2,100.
  • The all-male panchayat of Mandora village says the decision will prevent girls from eloping with boys.
  • An informal meeting of villagers decided that girls should use mobile phones only within the boundaries of their homes.

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT  BIODIVERSITY  

Endangered dholes to run free in Eastern Ghats

  • Endangered and hard-to-spot dholes, or Indian wild dogs, will soon test their fortunes in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) is located amidst Kambalakonda Reserve Forest in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is running a conservation breeding centre for the dholes and plans to reintroduce a pack of 16 into the forests.
  • Protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and listed as ‘endangered' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the dhole was adopted by IGZP in 2014 under the Central Zoo Authority's mandate.
  • If the Rs. 1.5-crore conservation project works, it will be the third such zoo effort for the recovery and long-term survival of an endangered species.
  • Earlier, Darjeeling's Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park had a programme for the red panda and a Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme was undertaken in Assam.
  • Dholes, with a cinnamon coloured coat, bushy tail and an alert gaze, are aggressive pack predators, covering long distances on a hunt.

GS III: ECONOMY   NITI

NITI Aayog for less teaching, more research

  • To ensure that investments in research better translate to more products and bolster "innovation and development" The National Institution for the Transformation of India (NITI) Aayog has recommended that faculty at "world class" institutions prioritise research and be allowed to "reduce their teaching responsibility," if required.
  • Such universities also ought to be allowed to recruit research staff from abroad and be encouraged to compete for research projects from industry.
  • The so-called ‘world class universities' are part of a government- outlined plan to raise funding for 10 public and 10 private universities and mould them into institutions that rank among the world's best.
  • The names of these institutions are expected to be made public later this year.
  • The NITI Aayog suggestions stem from a three-year vision document that outlines targets and goals the Ministries - from railways to environment - ought to achieve by 2020.
  • The NITI Aayog also pitches for a new ‘National Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation' headed by a distinguished scientist.
  • This will coordinate with science and technology departments, ministries, governments and private sector bodies and deliberate on national issues and recommend interventions.
  • Such an organisation will review progress of projects every six months and propose "course corrections" for achieving these goals.
  • The organisation has also pushed for more public private partnerships.
  • S&T projects, the report notes, are "different than those" in infrastructure primarily because they are riskier and take longer to fructify.
  • "We should develop clear guidelines for implementing these projects...and administer a clear funding mechanism for government financing," it notes.
  • Given the government's "limited funds" the NITI Aayog recommends research priorities to water management, agriculture, energy, waste management, health, connectivity and security.


GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

White House hails Infosys hiring plan

  • Indian IT giant Infosys's decision to hire more Americans for its operations in the country in the coming days is a sign of President Donald Trump's successful economic agenda, a White House spokesman has said.
  • The company had announced that it would hire 10,000 Americans over the next two years and open four technology development centres.

GS III:  DEFENCE

BrahMos missile achieves rare feat

  • The Army carried out a successful test of the advanced BrahMos Block III Land Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on 3 May 2017.
  • Testing BrahMos in the Andaman and Nicobar islands is a symbolic statement, as it brings the strategic Malacca straits under its range.
  • Precise capabilities of BrahMos missile for quick sea access and denial in the event of a conflict, and its testing in the Andaman Sea is a reflection of the changing dynamics in the Indian Ocean.
  • The steep dive capability makes it an ideal precision strike weapon.
  • "This is the fifth consecutive time when the Block-III version of BrahMos LACM has been successfully launched and hit the landbased target in "top-attack" mode, an incredible feat not achieved by any other weapon system of its genre," the Army said.
  • BrahMos is a product of joint collaboration between India and Russia and is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and seabased targets.
  • The range of the supersonic missile was initially capped at 290 km as per the obligations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
  • Since India's entry into the club, the range has been extended to 450 km and the plan is to increase it to 600 km.
  • These tests were carried out in full operational land-to-land configurations from Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL) at full-range.

 

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

SC seeks Khurshid's advice in talaq case

  • The Supreme Court on 3 May 2017 asked senior advocate Salman Khurshid to assist it as amicus curiae before a Constitution Bench scheduled to hear a batch of petitions arguing that the practices of triple talaq and polygamy violate the fundamental rights of Muslim women.
  • The Constitution Bench will examine if these personal law practices are the "fundamental traits" of the minority religion.
  • The Centre wants the court to re-open the debate whether personal laws can be brought under the ambit of Article 13 (laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights) of the Constitution.
  • If the Supreme Court agrees that personal laws are included in the definition of laws under Article 13, the door will be opened wide for an aggrieved person to challenge a particular personal law of a religion in court as violative of the Fundamental Rights.
  • If the challenge succeeds in court, the personal law, to the extent of its inconsistency, shall become void.
  • The Centre has also asked the Supreme Court to determine whether triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy are protected under the freedom of religion under Article 25, and whether this Article is subject to fundamental rights, especially the right to life and freedom of speech and expression.

 

GS II: SOCIAL- EDUCATION

J&K students to get more scholarships

  • Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced a slew of measures to offer a fillip to education for students of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The quota for J&K students pursuing higher education under the PM Scholarship Scheme has been enhanced from two seats per sector per college to 10 seats.
  • The scheme has been offering scholarships to 5,000 students of the State to pursue education in engineering, medical, management and hospitality sectors across the country.
  • Also, Rs. 52 crore has been granted for two sanctioned engineering colleges in the State - one at Sapakora in the Kashmir Valley and the other at Kathua in Jammu - under RUSA (Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan).

 

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL CHINA

China tightens rules for online news providers

  • China has issued new internet regulations increasing Communist party control over online news providers, the latest step in the country's push to tighten its policing of the web.
  • All websites, apps, forums, blogs, microblogs, social media accounts, instant messaging and live streaming platforms and other entities that select or edit news will need a license to post reports or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, and social issues, the CAC said.

 

GS III : ECONOMY BANKING

Package to resolve NPAs gets Cabinet nod

  • The government on 3 May 2017 cleared a package to resolve the persistent rise in non-performing assets that is plaguing public sector banks and denting credit growth.
  • The package includes an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act of 1949 to empower the Reserve Bank of India to take more actions to check bad loans.
  • Bad loans in the Indian banking system have gone up sharply in the last one year.
  • According to Reserve Bank of India data, gross NPA, as a percentage of gross advances went up to 9.1% in September 2016 from 5.1% in September 2015.
  • During the same period, stressed assets (which is gross NPA plus standard restructured advances and write-offs), moved up from 11.3% to 12.3% and some estimates suggested it had doubled since 2013.
  • Public sector banks share a disproportionate burden of this stress.
  • The economic survey of 2016-17 has pointed out the twin balance sheet problem - that is, stressed companies on one hand and NPA-laden banks on the other - and advocates that a centralised Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA) be established to deal with the problem of bad loans.

 

Stressed assets = NPAs + Restructured loans +Written Off Assets

Non Performing Asset (NPA)

  • An NPA means interest or principal is not repaid by the borrower during a specified time period (90 days).NPAs assets are further classified into substandard asset, doubtful asset, and loss assets depending upon how long a loan remains as an NPA.

Restructured asset

  • Those assets which got an extended repayment period, reduced interest rate, converting a part of the loan into equity, providing additional financing, or some combination of these measures.
  • Hence, under restructuring a bad loan is modified as a new loan. But the real problem is that it was actually an NPA.

Written off assets

  • Those that bank or lender doesn't count the money borrower owes to it.
  • The financial statement of the bank will indicate that the written off loans are compensated through some other way.
  • This does not mean that the borrower is pardoned or got exempted from payment.

 

 


GS III :ECONOMY  SECTORS

National Steel Policy 2017 approved by centre

  • The Centre approved a National Steel Policy 2017 aimed at attracting Rs. 10 lakh crore investments in the steel sector by 2030-31.
  • The policy gives "preference to Domestically Manufactured Iron & Steel Products (DMI&SP)" in Government Procurements.
  • The policy is applicable on all government tenders where price bid is yet to be opened
  • The policy projects creating crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT), production of 255 MT and "a robust finished steel per capita consumption of 158 kg by 2030-31, as against the current consumption of 61 kg."

 

GS III: ECONOMY  POLICIES

Allocation to SAMPADA Scheme to decrease agro waste and modernise processing

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for re-structuring the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme - SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) for the period 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.
  • SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. and also new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
  • The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri-waste.

 

GS III : ECONOMY  POLICY

Govt. mulls changes to UDAN scheme to attract more players

  • The Centre may introduce changes to its regional connectivity scheme or UDAN to attract more players in the second round of bidding.
  • Allowing single-engine aircraft to fly under the scheme, increasing route exclusivity for airlines and higher subsidy for helicopters among others are some of the proposals which may be considered.
  • Airlines had asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to increase the exclusive flying rights on UDAN routes from three to five years.
  • "However, we do not favour increasing the exclusive rights to five years since we feel airlines get enough safeguards by operating exclusively on a route for three years," said another Ministry official.
  • The airlines had also asked the Ministry to allow them to operate single-engine aircraft on routes under UDAN.
  • However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is not in favour of the proposal due to safety reasons, according to a Ministry official.
  • "We are persuading them to allow single-engine aircraft under the scheme," the official said.

 


GS III : S&T -SPACE

NASA's inflatable greenhouse could feed astronauts on Mars

  • NASA scientists have designed an inflatable greenhouse that astronauts could one day use to grow fresh food and produce oxygen on Mars or Moon.
  • The prototype involves an inflatable, deployable greenhouse to support plant and crop production for nutrition, air revitalisation, water recycling and waste recycling.
  • While astronauts have successfully grown plants and vegetables aboard the International Space Station (ISS), NASA wants to develop long term methods that could help sustain pioneers working in deep space.
  • Mr. Wheeler noted that astronauts exhale carbon dioxide, which is then introduced into the greenhouse, and the plants then generate oxygen through photosynthesis.
  • The water cycle begins with water that is brought along or found at the lunar or Martian landing site.
  • Water is oxygenated, given nutrient salts, and it continuously flows across the root zone of the plants and returned to the storage system.
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