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Current Affairs 17 April 2017

 

NEWS

17 April 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II:  POLITY- ELECTIONS

Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units

2.

GS II : POLITY

‘Triple talaq misuse will lead to social boycott'

3.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT

States turn to dogs to check wildlife crimes

4.

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

Cyclone Maarutha may trigger rain in Odisha

5.

GS III: ECONOMY

GNFC to facilitate digital transition of residential townships

6.

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

31 new seismological observatories soon

7.

GS II : SOCIAL- EDUCATION

IITs to introduce 4% more seats for girl students

8.

GS II:  POLITY-JUDICIARY

Collegium clears 51 names for HC

9.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-IRAN

Iran's silence on Jadhav baffling

10.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

China-Nepal exercises don't worry us: India

11.

GS III :  SECURITY

Centre links two NGOs to Maoists

12.

GS III: ECONOMY -RAILWAYS

Indian Railways draft policy aims at boosting tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

GS II:  POLITY- ELECTIONS

Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units

  • Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi has requested the Union Law Ministry for urgent release of funds, given the "prevailing environment," to facilitate procurement of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • Amid protests by Opposition parties against electronic voting machines (EVMs) without paper trail units, Mr. Zaidi said the EC felt that the procurement of VVPAT machines could not be delayed any longer.
  • Over 16 lakh VVPATs would be required, at an estimated cost of
    Rs. 3,174 crore, to cover all polling stations in the next Lok Sabha polls.
  • The EC had earlier informed the government that if the order for the machines was not placed by February, it would become difficult for the manufacturers to supply them by September 2018 to meet the requirement of the next general elections.
  • The machines can be manufactured within 30 months from the date of release of funds, the EC said.
  • It also placed on record the Supreme Court's direction to state the rough schedule within which the entire system could be introduced, subject to the sanction of funds.
  • The letter said the EC was fully committed to deploying VVPATs along with EVMs in all future elections so that transparency of the electoral process is enhanced, integrity of the voting preserved, and the voters' confidence in the process is further strengthened.
  • The Commission had recently received a memorandum from 16 parties demanding that the paper ballot system be reintroduced for greater transparency because during the last Parliament session, several members alleged that the voting machines used in the recently concluded Assembly elections were tampered with.
  • On its part, the Election Commission has time and again dismissed the allegations that the voting machines can be tampered with.
  • It has also made public findings of the inquiries conducted into specific charges of tampering in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind and Rajasthan's Dholpur, giving a clean chit to the machines.
  • With the Opposition insisting upon doing away with the EVMs and the controversy refusing to die down, the EC has now thrown a challenge, inviting computer experts and political leaders to prove that the machines can be hacked in the presence of the EVM manufacturers.
  • The exercise will be conducted in the first week of May.

 

 

GS II : POLITY  JUDICIARY

‘Triple talaq misuse will lead to social boycott'

  • "Whoever gives triple talaq without valid Shariat reasons will be boycotted by the society... so that such cases do not arise in future," the governing body for Muslim personal law in the country concluded after a two-day executive meeting at the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulam, a key Islamic seminary in Lucknow.
  • The AIMPLB, however, asserted its "full constitutional right" to implement Muslim personal law in the country.
  • Releasing an eight-point code of conduct for divorce, the Board encouraged Muslim couples to resolve differences on their own, and if that fails, adopt the "reconciliation and arbitration" method though involvement of family elders, before settling for a divorce.
  • If after the waiting period (iddat), reconciliation happens, the two can, through mutual consent, restore the relationship with a fresh marriage, say the guidelines.
  • The AIMPLB has opposed PILs filed against triple talaq in the SC, and regularly asserted that it did not encourage government interference.
  • A five-judge Constitution Bench of the SC will start hearing the petitions against triple talaq from May 11.


GS III : ENVIRONMENT  BIODIVERSITY

States turn to dogs to check wildlife crimes

  • In a bid to combat wildlife crimes more effectively, the Forest Departments of different States are strengthening law enforcement using squads of sniffer and tracker dogs.
  • The training of dogs in India for wildlife crime prevention was pioneered by TRAFFIC, a global wildlife trade monitoring network.
  • Also known as ‘TRAFFIC's Super Sniffers,' 43 of the squads have been deployed in the country.

TRAFFIC

  • TRAFFIC is a joint programme of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
  • Traffic also works in co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • The programme was founded in 1976, with headquarters now located in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and regional bases in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania with national offices within these regions.
  • TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • TRAFFIC's global network is research-driven, action-oriented, and committed to delivering innovative and practical solutions to wildlife trade issues based on the latest information.

 

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

Cyclone Maarutha may trigger rain in Odisha

  • Cyclonic Storm, Maarutha, lay centred over east-central Bay of Bengal, about 735 km east-southeast of Paradip, which may trigger rain or thundershowers at a few places in Odisha.
  • The cyclone is likely to move northeastwards and cross Myanmar coast near Sandway, according to the MeT department.

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY  DIGITAL

GNFC to facilitate digital transition of residential townships

  • The NITI Aayog has appointed the State-owned Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC) as the nodal agency to facilitate digital transition of residential townships across the country.
  • After demonetisation, GNFC's township in Bharuch was the first residential colony to adopt digital modes of payments.
  • It launched a drive to ensure that fertilizers and other products in its outlets were booked and sold using digital payment options, like credit or debit cards, e-wallets, and net banking channels.
  • Impressed with the initiative, the NITI Aayog appointed the firm to replicate its model across the country.
  • Last week, in Nagpur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched GNFC facilitated 81 less-cash townships in 12 States.
  • The 81 townships include those of Central public sector companies, like ONGC, Indian Oil, NTPC, SAIL, BHEL, NMDC, CRPF, BSF and Police Lines, and private sector townships, like Reliance, Essar, Adani, Birla Aditya, Welspun.

 

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

31 new seismological observatories soon

  • Thirty-one seismological observatories are expected to come up in the country by the end of the year to boost information gathering capabilities.
  • The National Centre of Seismology (NCS), a unit of the Union Ministry of Earth Science, will install these.
  • The NSC maintains a National Seismological Network (NSW) comprising 84 seismological laboratories across the country.
  • These observatories record seismological activities after an earthquake and pass on the data to a control room, which generates relevant data on the quake.

 

GS II : SOCIAL- EDUCATION

IITs to introduce 4% more seats for girl students

  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will add more seats to be filled by girl students for four years starting 2018 to increase the representation of women in the prestigious institutions.
  • While there are just 8% women in the IITs right now, the idea is to increase the proportion to 20% and then discontinue the practice of additional seats for women.
  • This quota will be filled from among the girl students who have cleared the JEE (Advanced) exam.
  • "In reservation, seats are taken from what is available. Here, seats are being added for a few years without deducting from the available seats," an official said.


GS II:  POLITY-JUDICIARY

Collegium clears 51 names for HC

  • The Supreme Court collegium has recommended 51 names for appointment as judges in 10 High Courts in the country.
  • The collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar cleared the names after finalising the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges, official sources said.
  • The 51 names were cleared by trimming a list of 90 names received from the various High Court collegiums, they said.


GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-IRAN

Iran's silence on Jadhav baffling

  • The lack of investigative support from Iran on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case has raised questions about the overall state Tehran-New Delhi security cooperation, say experts.
  • Iran is a strategic partner in India's outreach to Afghanistan and Central Asia, but its silence on the Kulbhushan case has baffled many.
  • Tehran has not responded to India's request for investigation in the case.
  • India has maintained that Kulbushan Jadhav had been engaged in "legitimate business" in the Iranian port of Chabahar and was kidnapped by Pakistani agents.
  • However, this part of the Indian narrative can be corroborated only if Iran comes forward with an investigation.
  • After years of cooperation, the port of Chabahar received more attention during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tehran last May when both sides signed a trilateral agreement with Kabul to develop the port and connect it with Afghanistan.
  • Commentators also believe that Iran is uncomfortable with India's growing proximity to GCC states, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and its non-cooperation on the case of Mr. Jadhav is indicative of a larger bilateral problem.
  • Also, recently Iran-India disagreed over the Farzad-B gas field which Iran had promised to India. Following pricing issues over the gas field, India has begun to cut gas imports from Iran.

 

 

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-CHINA

China-Nepal exercises don't worry us: India

  • The relationship between Kathmandu and New Delhi has its "own logic", India said.
  • The enduring ties between the two sides are not concerned with the ongoing first ever military exercises between China and Nepal, the External Affairs Ministry said.
  • The China-Nepal exercise, "Sagarmatha Friendship - 2017" began on 17 April 2017 in Nepal Army's para training school in Maharajganj and will continue for 10 days.
  • Though the official said that India was not concerned with the military exercise, he highlighted that India remained concerned about long-term peace, stability and the amendments to the Nepal Constitution of 2015.
  • The local-level elections in Nepal to be held on May 14 will begin a year-long process which will culminate in the election of Parliament of Nepal.

 

GS II :  GOVERNANCE  NGOs

Centre links two NGOs to Maoists

  • The Home Ministry has said in its annual report that at least two civil rights groups working for tribal people in Odisha and Jharkhand were allegedly acting as a front organisation for the Maoists and were using "displacement of local communities" as their main plank.
  • The Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS) in Odisha and the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) in Jharkhand are the organisations.
  • The samiti has actively campaigned against mining activity by the Odisha Mining Corporation atop the Niyamgiri hills in south-western Odisha, which would have given U.K.-based Vedanta Group access to natural resources.
  • In 2013, as many as 12 gram sabhas of Dongaria Kondh and Kutia Kandha spread across Rayagada and Kalahandi districts voted against any mining activity in the area.
  • Last year, the Supreme Court quashed a petition by the corporation to hold fresh gram sabha consultations to allow bauxite mining on Nyamgiri hills.
  • Last year, the VVJVA vehemently opposed the Jharkhand government's decision to amend two tenancy laws to allow use of agricultural land of tribal people for non-agricultural purposes.
  • The Chotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 restricts the sale of tribal land to non-tribals in 16 districts of Jharkhand.
  • The Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act of 1876 also prohibited sale of tribal land to non-tribals in the Santhal Pargana region.
  • The report said Maoist affiliates also undertook protest programmes and resorted to anti-government propaganda over alleged atrocities by security forces.
  • "They organised similar meetings over the issue of Kashmir and called for a plebiscite in the State," the report said.
  • As per Home Ministry data, at least 323 incidents of violence related to left-wing extremism were reported in Jharkhand in 2016, second only to Chattisgarh, which recorded 395 incidents. Odisha recorded 86 incidents in 2016.

 

GS III: ECONOMY - RAILWAYS

Indian Railways draft policy aims at boosting tourism

  • The Indian Railways (IR) plans to introduce dedicated train services for domestic and international tourists, catering to customers at all income levels.
  • Advance booking of seats for foreign tourists will begin a year in advance so that they can plan their journey.
  • The proposal is part of the IR's draft Tourism Policy 2017, brought out for the first time in a bid to increase private partnership in running tourist trains.
  • A concept of tourist train with differential tariff will be worked out.
  • Additionally, the Railways plans to rope in several service providers, including Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), to manage other services such as hotel accommodation and sightseeing for domestic and international tourists.
  • The Railways also proposes to reserve special coaches for tourists on trains running through tourist spots across the country.
  • It will auction such dedicated tourist coaches to tour operators "at a premium based on which the tour operator may carry the passengers/ tourists to be booked by it."
  • It plans to unveil ‘Bharat Darshan Trains' catering "for the masses" with sleeper class coaches.
  • For promoting religious tourism, the IR proposed introducing Astha Circuit Trains and State Tirth Trains. While the former will be operated by the IR at its own expense, the latter will be run on request from state governments at their cost.
  • The IR will look to increase the frequency of hill tourist trains during peak season and has proposed reviving steam trains to be operated in hill stations.
  • It has invited comments on its draft policy, uploaded on its website till April 24.
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