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Current Events 06 May 2017

 

NEWS

6 May 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III :ECONOMY

Govt. arms RBI to crack down on bank NPAs

2.

GS II:   POLITY- JUDICIARY

SC upholds death in Nirbhaya case

3.

GS III : SECURITY

Shopian siege sparks protests in Valley

4.

GS III :ECONOMY-AVIATION

Centre notifies draft ‘no fly’ rules

5.

GS II :  SOCIAL-CHILD ISSUES

Set up database of children in orphanages, SC tells govt.

6.

GS III: SECURITY

Grenade found in well at the Red Fort in Delhi

7.

GS II: POLITY- COOPERATIVES

Workers start cooperative to revive tea garden

8.

GS III: SECURITY

Entire Assam declared ‘disturbed’

9.

GS III :ECONOMY

Forex reserves hit all time high of $373 bn

10.

GS III :  S&T- HEALTH

Novel molecule to treat cancer

11.

GS III: S&T- HEALTH

Researchers develop synthetic soft retina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY BANKING

Govt. arms RBI to crack down on bank NPAs

  • The Centre on 5 May 2017 authorised the Reserve Bank of India to take tough and decisive actions to crack down on the rising bad loans on the books of public sector banks, after President Pranab Mukherjee signed off on an ordinance late on 4 May 2017 night to amend the Banking Regulation Act of 1949, empowering the central bank to deal with the menace more effectively.
  • The new provisions incorporated in the banking regulation law allow the government to authorise the RBI to initiate insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings in relation to any stressed assets under Section 35 AA.
  • The RBI is expected to issue guidelines within a week to banks on resolving their bad loan accounts in a specified time frame through various strategies including asset sales, and where no breakthrough is imminent, invocation of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings against the borrowers.
  • The total stressed assets in the banking system are estimated to be Rs. 14 lakh crore.
  • A separate clause 35B allows the RBI to issue specific directions, including the formation of oversight committees (OCs) to resolve bad loans.
  • Currently, the OC mechanism functions only in relation to the scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A) for banks.
  • The new provision will allow the RBI to form OCs in relation to resolution of specific accounts either under the insolvency and bankruptcy framework or any other JLF framework as well, the minister said.
  • A corollary benefit and objective of such oversight committees, Mr. Jaitley pointed out, is that bankers will have more comfort while taking tough decisions to write off or take haircuts on existing bad loans without fear that such a decision could prompt investigation by agencies.
  • Where resolutions at the Joint Lenders Forum ( JLF) used to take time, and many times the process was delayed as all bankers were not on the same page, directives have been issued to empower the RBI on this too.
  • In a statement, following the government announcement, RBI reiterated that lenders must scrupulously adhere to the timelines prescribed in the Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF) framework for finalising and implementing the corrective action plan.
  • “To facilitate timely decision making, it has been decided that, henceforth, the decisions agreed upon by a minimum of 60% of creditors by value and 50% of creditors by number in the JLF would be considered as the basis for deciding the Corrective Action Plan (CAP), and will be binding on all lenders, subject to the exit (by substitution) option available in the Framework,” RBI said.
  • The banking regulator said non-adherence to the instructions and timelines specified under the framework will attract monetary penalties.
  • While the laws have been amended to give RBI more power, the idea of forming a ‘bad’ bank has taken a back seat, it appears.
  • The main reason is the huge amount of capital required, to the tune of Rs. 30,000, which the government needs to infuse as initial capital to a ‘bad’ bank.
  • Public sector banks (PSBs) seeking fresh capital from the Centre would have to commit to reform their own operations and take immediate steps to improve their balance sheet position, the government said.
  • The lenders will also have to close unprofitable branches and put in place stronger systems for credit appraisals and management of non-performing assets (NPAs).


 


GS II:   POLITY- JUDICIARY

SC upholds death in Nirbhaya case

  • Supreme Court confirmed the death penalty to four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case which shook the entire nation with its brutality and spurred the genesis of a stringent anti-rape law.
  • It upheld the Delhi High Court’s verdict to the send the 23-yearold paramedical student’s attackers to the gallows.
  • To the accused, the court read out the “entire medical history of the victim -- the shattering of the intestine caused by the repeated insertion of iron rods, the tearing of her clothes, looting of her personal belongings, aggravated the sexual assault.”
  • The court said this was followed by the fact that the victim and her companion were thrown out naked in the cold winter night.
  • As they lay on the road, the convicts tried to silence them by running the bus over them. They had then tried to destroy evidence.
  • “Where a crime is committed with extreme brutality and the collective conscience of the society is shocked, courts must award death penalty. By not imposing a death sentence, the courts may do injustice to the society at large,” Justice Banumathi, Supreme Court's sole woman judge, observed.
  • Spelling out each of the arguments raised in the appeal hearings, the Supreme Court gave primary emphasis to the victim’s multiple dying declarations, the last and third one in gestures.
  • The judgment said the dying declaration proved beyond doubt the guilt of the accused.
  • The Supreme Court chronicled the heroic attempt made by Nirbhaya to identify her attackers even as she lay dying.
  • Her positive identification and graphic recounting of what happened on the night of December 16, 2012, became the starting point for a cast-iron prosecution case.

 

 

GS III : SECURITY

Shopian siege sparks protests in Valley

  • Sporadic protests broke out in parts of the Kashmir Valley on 5 May 2017 over the eight-hour area dominance exercise in Shopian by security forces and the treatment of students by the police during a raid last month on a college in Pulwama.
  • Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq held a demonstration after the prayers.
  • “Kashmir virtually has been turned into a police state. All spaces have been choked. Even students are not allowed to put forth their point peacefully,” said the Mirwaiz.
  • In south Kashmir’s Shopian district a complete shutdown was observed against the killing of Nazir Sheikh by militants while he was ferrying soldiers in his private vehicle on 4 May 2017 evening.
  • National Conference (NC) described the Shopian operation as a “clear indication of an unofficial military rule being invoked in the Valley”.

 

 

GS III :ECONOMY-AVIATION

Centre notifies draft ‘no fly’ rules

  • The Centre on 5 May 2017 proposed guidelines allowing domestic airlines to ban unruly passengers for a period ranging from three months to a lifetime.
  • According to the draft Civil Aviation Requirements on “Handling of unruly or disruptive passengers,” airlines can impose three levels of ban on unruly passengers — three months for disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures; six months for physically abusive behaviour such as pushing, kicking and sexual harassment; and two years or more for life threatening behaviour, including damage to aircraft systems.
  • For every subsequent offence, the unruly passenger may be banned for twice the period of the previous ban.
  • Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs can put individuals identified as “national security threat” on the proposed National No- Fly List.
  • The draft rules will be open to public comments for a month after which a final regulation will be released by June 30.
  • All airlines need to form an internal committee consisting of a retired District and Sessions Judge, a representative of different airline and a representative of passengers' association or a consumer forum member.
  • This committee will be mandated to take a decision on the level of ban to be imposed by the airline within ten days of receiving a complaint.
  • Passengers can appeal this ban to the government which will set up an appellate committee comprising of a retired judge of a High Court, a representative of passenger association or consumer forum and a highlevel airline executive.
  • The need for a National No- Fly List emerged after government identified certain loopholes in current regulations through which Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad was recently banned by all domestic airlines for his alleged manhandling of an Air India staffer in March.
  • The airlines had withdrawn the two weeks ban, following a directive from the government.

 

 

GS II :  SOCIAL-CHILD ISSUES

Set up database of children in orphanages, SC tells govt.

  • The Supreme Court on 5 May 2017 passed a slew of directions, including setting up of a database of children living in orphanages and child care institutions to ensure their safety and welfare.
  • The verdict came on a PIL petition filed on the basis of a 2007 newspaper report alleging that orphanages in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, run by NGOs as well as government institutions, were reportedly involved in systematic sexual abuse of children.
  • A Bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed the Centre, States and union territories (UTs) to complete the registration of all child care institutions by year-end.
  • The court said the registration process should also include a database of all children in need of care and protection and update it every month.
  • It asked the authorities concerned to ensure confidentiality and privacy in maintaining the database.
  • The Bench said it was not necessary that every child in need of care and protection must be placed either in a child care institution and alternative option like adoption and foster care could seriously be considered.
  • “It is imperative that the Union government and the governments of States and UTs must concentrate on rehabilitation and social re-integration of children in need of care and protection,” the Bench said.
  • It said Centre’s schemes such as skill development and vocational training must be taken advantage of keeping in mind the need to rehabilitate such children.
  • The Bench also directed the States and UTs to set up ‘Inspection Committees’ before July 31 to conduct regular inspections of child care institutions and prepare reports of such inspections so that the living conditions of kids there undergo positive changes.
  • The first report after conducting the inspection should be filed before the government concerned by December 31.
  • It directed that the process for preparing individual child care plans must be initiated immediately and an individual plan must be prepared for each child in each such centre on or before December 31.
  • The court also directed that all vacancies in State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) be filled by the end of this year.
  • The Bench said it was imperative that the process of conducting a social audit must be taken up in right earnest by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as well as by each State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.

 

 

 

GS III: SECURITY

Grenade found in well at the Red Fort in Delhi

  • Three months after a large cache of arms was found on the premises of the Red Fort, a grenade was discovered inside a well at the historical monument on 4 May 2017.
  • The grenade was removed by a robot deployed by the NSG. “The robot was covered with a bomb blanket,” a police officer said and added that the fort was being scanned for more explosives.

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY SECTORS

Workers start cooperative to revive tea garden

  • In a unique initiative, the workers of Bandapani Tea Garden, West Bengal, which has remained closed since July 2013, have formed a cooperative society and obtained government registration in a bid to run the garden themselves.
  • The cooperative received government registration on April 26, 2017.
  • The State government had taken over the Bandapani Tea Garden in October 2014. It still has about 1,200 workers on its rolls.
  • Set up in 1895, the Bandapani Tea Garden changed hands several times before shutting down in July 2013.
  • The garden workers alleged that the last private owners of the garden “usurped” their wages, provident fund, gratuity, and bonus before closing the garden.
  • The workers claimed that they had no choice but to live in “sub-human” conditions in the closed tea garden, without access to basic amenities.
  • There are around 25 closed tea gardens in West Bengal.
  • There have also been media reports of starvation deaths in the closed gardens.
  • The Durgabari Tea Estate in Tripura is also run by a similar workers’ cooperative.
  • According to local social activist Rupam Deb, a similar initiative was made by the workers of Sonali tea estate in Jalpaiguri district in 1974.
  • “The workers ran the garden for about four years. But they were forced to give up after the owners moved the court, arguing that the workers were not legally entitled to run the garden since they do not have a lease over the land,” said Mr. Deb.
  • “Since the land is currently owned by the State government, the cooperative members have to obtain a lease on the land to run the garden themselves,” said a senior official in the Assistant Registrar’s office.

 

 

 

GS III: SECURITY

Entire Assam declared ‘disturbed’

  • The Centre has declared the entire State of Assam a “disturbed” area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for three more months, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB and others.
  • In a gazette notification, the Home Ministry said the entire State, besides bordering areas of Meghalaya, have been declared “disturbed” under the AFSPA for three months with effect from May 3.
  • The Ministry said there were 75 incidents of violence in Assam in 2016 in which 33 people, were killed.


 

GS III :ECONOMY  INDICATORS

Forex reserves hit all time high of $373 bn

  • The country’s foreign exchange reserves touched an all-time high of $372.7 billion, according to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on the back of sustained inflows.
  • According to economists, this level of reserves can cover 11-12 months of imports.
  • While gold reserves stayed steady, the special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund increased by $8.5 million to $1.46 billion, and the reserve position with the Fund rose by $15.8 million to $2.35 billion, according to the central bank.
  • Foreign investors have pumped in $7.7 billion in debt and $6.3 billion in equities since the beginning of the year.
  • Following the inflows of both debt and equity, the rupee has appreciated about 6% against the dollar in 2017, and has become one of the best-performing currencies in Asia.
  • Earlier this year, RBI has changed its monetary policy stance from accommodative to neutral due to inflation concerns.

 


 

 

GS III :  S&T- HEALTH

Novel molecule to treat cancer

  • A novel small molecule, designed and synthesised by Indian researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, has shown promise in targeted killing of cancer cells.
  • The molecule (Disarib) works by binding itself to a protein called BCL2, which suppresses the death of cancerous cells.
  • While BCL2 protein is produced in excess in cancer cells, its expression is almost undetectable in normal cells.
  • Hence, Disarib targets and kills only cancer cells while sparing normal cells.
  • Inside a cell there is always a balance between proteins that promote cell death (apoptosis) and those that suppress cell death.
  • When the proteins BAX and BAK that promote cell death get bound to BCL2, cell death is suppressed and cancer cells are able to live longer.
  • A team led by Sathees C. Raghavan at the Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, showed that Disarib was able to disrupt the binding of BCL2 and BAK protein.
  • This action induced the death of cancer cells.
  • Disarib is the culmination of eight years of research involving 24 researchers from eight groups across various labs.
  • Unlike the FDA-approved BCL2 inhibitor ABT199, the small molecule synthesised by Prof. Raghavan’s team binds predominantly to a different domain (BH1) of BCL2 and showed better efficiency in killing cancer cells.
  • Also, compared with ABT199 inhibitor, the small molecule did not cause any side effects.  
  • However, expression of BCL2 is low in certain cancer cell lines such as breast cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia and cervical cancer.
  • So the Disarib molecule would be ineffective in these cancers.
  • Studies were carried out on three animal models for three different cancers — lymphoma, breast adenocarcinoma and ovarian cancer.
  • “In every case, both in animal studies and cancer cell lines, the efficiency of Disarib to cause cell death and tumour regression was far superior compared with ABT199 when same dosage of Disarib and ABT199 were used,” says Prof. Raghavan.
  • The next step will be to test the toxicity and efficacy of the molecule in cancer cells taken from patients, and also test it in combination with known cancer drugs.

 

 

 

GS III: S&T - HEALTH

Researchers develop synthetic soft retina

  • Scientists from the University of Oxford have developed a synthetic, soft tissue retina that closely mimics the natural retinal process.
  • The researchers believe that their efforts could lead to the development of less invasive products that closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.
  • The condition changes how the retina responds to light, causing people to slowly lose vision.
  • The retina sits at the back of the human eye, and contains protein cells that convert light into electrical signals that travel through the nervous system, triggering a response from the brain, ultimately building a picture of the scene being viewed.
  • The synthetic, double layered retina replica consists of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and biological cell membrane proteins.
  • Designed like a camera, the cells act as pixels, detecting and reacting to light to create a grey scale image.
  • The synthetic material can generate electrical signals, which stimulate the neurons at the back of our eye just like the original retina.
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