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Current Events 05 May 2017

 

NEWS

5 May 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II:  GOVERNANCE

Indore is the most Swachh city, Gonda the dirtiest

2.

GS II:   POLITY- JUDICIARY

HC upholds life for 11 in Bilkis Bano case

3.

GS III : SECURITY

Commando killed, 19 injured in landmine blast in Gadchiroli

4.

GS II: SOCIAL- EDUCATION

India’s first ‘village of books’ opens

5.

GS II :  POLITY- STATUTORY BODIES

CIC seeks details of action against former Chief Justice

6.

GS III: SECURITY

Pak seizing boats from Indian waters, claim Gujarat fishermen

7.

GS III: S&T-SPACE

No media glare for South Asia Satellite

8.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

U.S., Germany slam India for NGO funding norms

9.

GS II : GOVERNANCE

Centre selling Aadhaar like a panacea, says petitioner

10.

GS III : DEFENCE

Agni II test fails to meet desired parameters

11.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Russia, Iran and Turkey ink Syria deal

12.

GS III :ECONOMY

Cut corporate tax to 18%, remove all incentives: CII

13.

GS III :ECONOMY

Govt. plans steel plants with private players on PSU land

14.

GS III :ECONOMY

Higher coal tax may benefit economy: IMF

15.

GS III :ECONOMY

Gold glitters in India in Q1

16.

GS III: S&T-ROBOTICS

A bionic hand that can ‘see’

17.

GS III: S&T

Time for biodegradable electronics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II:  SOCIAL SCHEMES

Indore is the most Swachh city, Gonda the dirtiest

  • Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh have emerged as the cleanest cities in the country. The dirtiest city is Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.
  • This is as per the survey, Swachh Survekshan-2017, the cleanliness survey commissioned by the Union Urban Development Ministry during January-February and carried out by the Quality Council of India across 434 cities included the feedback of 18 lakh respondents and took into account criteria and weighted score for different components of sanitation-related aspects.
  • In some cases, it was not the independent observation’ score that dragged past high performers down, but the ‘public feedback’ score. For others, though, the reverse was true.
  • The top 10 cleanest cities are Indore, Bhopal, Visakhapatnam, Surat, Mysuru, Tiruchi, New Delhi Municipal Council area, Navi Mumbai, Tirupati and Vadodara.
  • Gujarat has the maximum of 12 cities in the top 50, closely followed by Madhya Pradesh with 11 and Andhra Pradesh with 8.

 

 

GS II:   POLITY- JUDICIARY

HC upholds life for 11 in Bilkis Bano case

  • 15 years after the gang rape of pregnant 19-year-old Bilkis Bano during the post- Godhra riots, the Bombay High Court on 4 May 2017 upheld the conviction of 11 accused and set aside the acquittal of seven others.
  • The Division Bench, in its 430-page judgment, said while the probe conducted by the Gujarat police was “flawed with a dishonest investigation,” the evidence and statements given by Ms. Bano were “completely trustworthy.”
  • According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002, Ms. Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village, near Ahmedabad, during the post-Godhra riots and seven members of the family were killed.
  • The trial had begun in Ahmedabad.
  • However, after Ms. Bano expressed apprehension that witnesses could be harmed and moved the Supreme Court, the case was transferred to Mumbai.
  • A special court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, convicted and sentenced 12 men to life imprisonment. One of them died subsequently.
  • The order of the Bench came on appeals of those convicted in 2008 and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea for death penalty for three.
  • The court also set aside the acquittal of five police personnel and two doctors.
  • The court convicted them under Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and Section 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment) of the Indian Penal Code.

 

 

GS III : SECURITY

Commando killed, 19 injured in landmine blast in Gadchiroli

  • A commando of Maharashtra police’s special anti-Maoist unit, C-60, was killed and 19 others suffered injuries when an improvised explosive device (IED) triggered by Maoists hit their armoured vehicle in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on 3 May 2017 night.
  • The district, which has witnessed a drop in Maoist activities since 2014, saw a spurt in Maoist violence this year with back to back attacks on personnel and killing of informers.
  • The rebels torched more than 80 mining vehicles in Surjagad area of Gadchiroli in the last week of December 2016 signalling their return to the district.
  • On April 24, 25 CRPF personnel were killed and six wounded in a dastardly attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.

 

 

GS II: SOCIAL- EDUCATION

India’s first ‘village of books’ opens

  • Terming it a “historic occasion”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on 4 May 2017 inaugurated India’s first ‘village of books’ in the picturesque mountain village of Bhilar in Satara district, Maharashtra.
  • Geographically modelled on the similarly idyllic market town of Hay-on-Wye — the Welsh mecca for bibliophiles — Bhilar, with its robust collection of literature in Marathi, aims to be the one-stop destination for lovers of vernacular literature.
  • The idea of a book village sited close to the hill-station town of Mahabaleshwar was to transform Bhilar into a haven where bibliophiles can devour books.
  • With a population of 5,000, an overwhelming majority of whom are engaged in strawberry farming, the village, nestled in the Sahyadri hills, is a major producing- hub of strawberries, which draws a lot of tourists.

 

 

GS II :  POLITY- STATUTORY BODIES

CIC seeks details of action against former Chief Justice

  • The Central Information Commission has directed the Supreme Court Information Officer and the Union Law Ministry to share details of the action taken on a complaint regarding former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir in connection with the alleged leak of a judgment in 2013.
  • Issuing the order, Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu observed that a comprehensive mechanism was needed to ensure both answerability and access to information about the administration of justice, stating: “It is not known who will discipline the judges or former judges, CJI or former CJI.
  • The Supreme Court judgment dated July 18, 2013, in the matter of Christian Medical College, Vellore, vs Union of India, was allegedly uploaded on a private website hours before the pronouncement.
  • On July 24 the same year, eminent RTI activist Subhash Agrawal sought from the Law Ministry details of complaints filed by Justice (Retired) V.R. Krishna Iyer and Dr. M. Furquan.
  • He also asked about the action taken on the complaints. However, he did not get any concrete information.
  • After hearing both sides, the Information Commissioner directed the Supreme Court information officer to inform the appellant about the action or follow-up on the representation of Dr. Furquan, which was forwarded by the Law Ministry to the CJI’s private secretary.
  • He also directed that the petitioner be provided the number of complaints rejected or accepted, without indicating the names or contents.
  • Issuing the order for compliance within 60 days, the Information Commissioner observed that there was no system for redress of grievances in any courts of India, and no mechanism to receive complaints against the judiciary.


 

GS III: SECURITY

Pak seizing boats from Indian waters, claim Gujarat fishermen

  • Since the beginning of this year, the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) has adopted aggressive methods, capturing around 300 Indian fishermen and seizing more than 60 fishing boats off the Gujarat coast.
  • The PMSA’s actions along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Arabian Sea, where thousands of trawlers from Gujarat go on multi-day fishing expeditions, have flummoxed the fishermen and those engaged in the marine food industry.
  • “Our fishermen are victims of PMSA’s war-like strategy in the fishing zones in the Arabian Sea. Earlier, the PMSA used to detain only those boats and fishermen who ventured into their territorial waters. But now, they often come into our waters and capture our fishermen,” said Porbandar-based Manish Lodhari, secretary of the National Fish-workers’ Forum.
  • According to him, at present, almost 600 fishermen from Gujarat are languishing in in Karachi jails while 980 boats – mid-sized, mechanised fishing trawlers -- of Gujarati fishermen have been taken away by the PMSA. They are all anchored at a harbour in Karachi, Mr Lodhari said.
  • At the moment, about 45- 50 Pakistani fishermen are lodged in jail in Gujarat, while approximately 50 small and mid-sized boats have been seized by Indian agencies.

 

 

GS III: S&T-SPACE

No media glare for South Asia Satellite

  • A communication spacecraft, the South Asia Satellite, which will serve India and six of its regional neighbours, is set to lift off from Sriharikota off Andhra Pradesh on 5 May 2017 evening.
  • The 2230-kg spacecraft will be launched on a GSLV F09.
  • A normally transparent ISRO has been unusually reticent about a less than routine launch.
  • There will be no live telecast.
  • Brochures that would be routinely released about five days ahead of a mission are still to be uploaded on the ISRO website.
  • Mediapersons will not cover a launch for the first time in a decade; normally ISRO would ferry about 200 reporters from different places to Sriharikota to witness a launch.
  • Among the three earlier exceptions was the launch of Israel’s spy satellite, TecSAR, on a PSLV in January 2008.
  • The communication spacecraft carries 12 Kuband transponders that can drive telecommunication, disaster management, broadcasting and direct to home TV, Internet activities, tele-education and telemedicine across the region.
  • It was first announced as SAARC Satellite by the Prime Minister in July 2014 as India's gift to regional neighbours.
  • After Pakistan declined to participate, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, The Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka remain in the plan to reap its uses.


 

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

U.S., Germany slam India for NGO funding norms

  • NGOs must abide by India’s laws, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi told the UN’s Human Rights Council at Geneva, as the government faced a tough “peer review” by other countries at the Council.
  • The Council members on 4 May 2017 recommended a revision in India’s Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act (FCRA), a repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, decriminalisation of homosexuality and the inclusion of marital rape in Indian laws on sexual violence.
  • The Attorney-General stated that the FCRA is a legitimate law that NGOs wishing to operate in India must follow.
  • The attack on the FCRA act came from nearly a dozen countries, mostly from Europe.
  • The charge was led by the U.S. and Germany, who called the Act and the government’s actions “arbitrary”.
  • “India must defend the right to freedom of association, which includes the ability of civil society organisations to access foreign funding, and protect human rights defenders effectively against harassment and intimidation,” the German Ambassador to the UN mission in Geneva said, while the U.S. envoy decried the “complete lack of transparency” in the implementation of the FCRA.
  • Australia, Ireland, Norway, South Korea, Denmark and the Czech Republic were among other countries calling for a review of the FCRA that has led to the licences of about 14,000 of NGOs being cancelled because of alleged violations.
  • The government also faced criticism on violence against religious minorities from a number of countries.
  • Attacks on Africans in India appeared as a new subject of concern at the HRC proceedings, and the government said it accepted responsibility and had sought to prosecute all those responsible for the brutal beating of students at a mall in Noida in March 2017.
  • On criticism over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, that gives forces immunity from prosecution, India said the Act applies “only to disturbed areas.”


 

GS II : GOVERNANCE AADHAAR

Centre selling Aadhaar like a panacea, says petitioner

  • The government is selling Aadhaar like “herbal medicine” — a panacea for all ills from black money to terrorism to leakage, counsel Arvind Datar told the Supreme Court on 4 May 2017, in his rebuttal to the Centre’s argument that Aadhaar was foolproof and leakproof.
  • “Anybody with common sense would ask how will Aadhaar check black money. Aadhaar was sold as a panacea for all ills — black money, terrorism, and leakage like herbal medicine. Aadhaar is like having built a bridge and looking for a river,” Mr. Datar, representing main petitioner and senior CPI leader Benoy Viswam, submitted before a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan. Mr. Datar said only 0.4% of PAN cards were found to be duplicate.
  • On the government’s argument that Aadhaar is necessary for India to remain compliant to the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act (FATCA), Mr. Datar said nothing in FATCA created a requirement for Aadhaar.
  • Here, government counsel Arghya Sengupta intervened to submit that “the problem is that if we give the United States duplicate PANs, it becomes an embarrassment.”

 

 

GS III : DEFENCE

Agni II test fails to meet desired parameters

  • India on 4 May 2017 test-fired its medium-range nuclear capable Agni II missile having a strike range of more than 2,000 km from an island off the Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Army.
  • The test-firing, however, did not meet all the desired parameters, official sources revealed.

 

 

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Russia, Iran and Turkey ink Syria deal

  • Syrian regime allies Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey on 4 May 2017 signed a memorandum on a Moscow-backed plan to create safe zones in Syria to bolster a fragile truce.
  • The Syrian government and rebel delegations are not signatories.
  • The Kremlin has been mulling the creation of safe zones in Syria aimed at “further pacification and cessation of hostilities”.
  • Kremlin's plan echoes calls by U.S. leader Donald Trump to establish safe zones in Syria.

 

 

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY POLICIES

Cut corporate tax to 18%, remove all incentives: CII

  • Broadly backing NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, new CII president Shobana Kamineni has batted for taxation of agricultural income above a certain threshold, but also pitched for steps including cutting corporate income tax to 18% along with removal of all incentives, to help India achieve a 10%- plus GDP growth by 2019-20.
  • Citing the 25% rate as applicable only for firms with turnover of up to Rs. 50 crore, she said 25% should be made the rate for all companies.
  • “Eventually, corporate tax rate could be brought down to 18% together with the removal of all incentives.” This, she said, would ensure better compliance.
  • Eight new ‘special taskforces’ including one on ‘agriculture income tax’ will be set up by the CII to take forward its agenda of an ‘inclusive and responsible’ India, said Ms. Kamineni — who is the CII’s first woman president.
  • The other taskforces will be on judicial reforms, cybersecurity, security and privacy, and tax compliance, among others.

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY SECTORS

Govt. plans steel plants with private players on PSU land

  • The government plans to set up new steel plants on surplus land available with PSUs by forging partnerships with the private sector to help more than double steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030.
  • The Cabinet on 3 May 2017 approved the New Steel Policy that aims to achieve 300 million tonnes of capacity by 2030 with an additional investment of Rs. 10 lakh crore.
  • At present, the steel production capacity is 126 million tonnes.

 

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Higher coal tax may benefit economy: IMF

  • An annual Rs. 150 per tonne increase in tax on coal from 2017 to 2030 could prevent over 2.7 lakh deaths from air pollution, raise GDP by 1% by 2030, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12% and generate net economic benefits of about 1% of GDP, according to IMF.
  • “The main domestic environmental cost of burning coal is outdoor air pollution, which exacerbates mortality rates for various (e.g., cardiovascular and pulmonary) diseases,” said the working paper released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 3 May 2017.
  • Outdoor air pollution from fossil and non-fossil sources prematurely killed an estimated 0.53 people per 1,000 of the population in 2010 in India, or about 6.5 lakh in total.
  • “Fossil fuel taxes can provide a significant source of easily-collected revenue, which is especially valuable when revenues from broader taxes on labour, capital, and consumption are insufficient due to a large concentration of economic activity occurring in the informal sector,” it added.
  • The paper also says that, in the event of political reasons not permitting any increase in coal tax, the government should implement subsidies or other incentives to encourage the shift away from coal generation.

 

 

GS III: S&T-IT

A bionic hand that can ‘see’

  • Scientists have developed a new bionic hand that can ‘see’ objects and allow amputees to grasp things ten times faster than currently available prosthetics.
  • The bionic hand is fitted with a camera that instantaneously takes a picture of the object in front of it, assesses its shape and size and triggers a series of movements in the hand.
  • Bypassing the usual processes that require the user to see the object, physically stimulate the muscles in the arm and trigger a movement in the prosthetic limb, the bionic hand ‘sees’ and reacts in one fluid movement.
  • A small number of amputees have already tested the technology developed by researchers at the Newcastle University in the U.K.
  • Current prosthetic hands are controlled via myoelectric signals — electrical activity of the muscles recorded from the skin surface of the stump.
  • Controlling them takes practice, concentration and time.
  • Using neural networks — the basis for artificial intelligence — researchers showed the computer numerous object images and taught it to recognise the ‘grip’ needed for different objects

 

GS III: S&T  IT

Time for biodegradable electronics

  • Scientists at the University of Stanford have developed a new ultra thin, flexible electronic device that is biodegradable, an advance that may help tackle the problem of mounting electronic waste.
  • The team created a flexible electronic device that can easily degrade just by adding a weak acid like vinegar.
  • “This is the first example of a semiconductive polymer that can decompose,” said Ting Lei, a postdoctoral fellow.
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