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Current Affairs 24 April 2017

 

NEWS 

24 April 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III :   ECONOMY

Step up spending on infra, PM tells States

2.

GS II :  GOVERNANCE

One Ministry for transport proposed

3.

GS :  ECONOMY- INFRASTRUCTURE

Satellite port to come up at Vijayadurg

4.

GS  I:  GEOGRAPHY

Heat claimed 4,620 lives in four years

5.

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA - CYPRUS

Cyprus sees role for India

6.

GS II :  GOVERNANCE

Corruption, the top pain: poll

7.

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA -U.K.

38 Indians detained in U.K. for visa breach

8.

GS III :  DEFENCE

Army plans to raise inclusiveness

9.

GS III:   SECURITY

Manipur stares at fuel crisis again

10.

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA - AUSTRALIA

Now, Australia wants a LEMOA

11.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Delay in quota reforms to erode IMF's credibility, says Jaitley

12.

GS II :  REGULATORS

SEBI lines up reforms to check flow of black money

13.

GS III :   S&T

3D-printing conquers glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II :   POLITY -  NITI  

Step up spending on infra, PM tells States

  • Stating that the vision of ‘New India' could only be realised if all States work together, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation.
  • Addressing the third meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog on 23 April 2017, Mr. Modi said that while there had been a 40% increase in overall fund allocation to States between 2014-15 and 2016-17, "the percentage of funds tied to central schemes has declined from 40% of the earlier total to 25% of the enhanced total, with a corresponding increase in the untied share."
  • "NITI Aayog is working on a 15-year long term vision, 7-year medium-term strategy, and 3-year action agenda," Mr. Modi said.
  • Later, briefing reporters, NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said the Prime Minister wants that "we should think of January-December financial year as this is appropriate from the point of view of farmers."
  • The goods and services tax (GST) can boost India's GDP growth by up to 4.2% - double the previous estimate - as lower taxes on manufactured goods will bump up output and make products cheaper, a U.S. Federal Reserve paper said.
  • GST, it said, could reduce inefficiencies in the production process while eliminating the current compounding effect of central and state levies.

 

GS II :  GOVERNANCE  POLICY

One Ministry for transport proposed

  • Prompted by the Prime Minister's Office, the Centre has begun discussions to set up a national level nodal body for all transport-related matters across modes including aviation, railways, surface transport and waterways.
  • The proposed Logistics and Integrated Transport Board' will initially work on improving inter-ministerial co-ordination to facilitate an efficient multi-modal transport system in India, official sources told.
  • The ‘umbrella' Board - likely to be chaired by a Union Cabinet minister or a Secretary to Government of India - will include top officials from other Ministries concerned such as Finance, Commerce & Industry, External Affairs and Home, as well as senior representatives from the Indian industry and legal experts, especially to address competition aspects.
  • The aim, however, is to gradually set up a single unified transport ministry by merging the ministries of Aviation, Railways, Surface Transport and Shipping to ensure greater ease of doing business and boost India's internal and external trade, they said.
  • In this regard, the Centre is considering the report of the National Transport Development Policy Committee, chaired by Rakesh Mohan.
  • The report, submitted to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2014, had pointed out that "nearly all of the 100 largest economies, all of the OECD countries, and all of India's emerging market ‘peers,' the BRICS countries, have a Ministry of Transport or similar integrated equivalent rather than the collection of mode specific ministries found in India."
  • It further noted that "some of these consolidated national agencies are also combined with the Ministry (or equivalent) of communication, a categorisation reminiscent of India's early post-independence structure."
  • The report suggested that "India needs to have a single unified ministry with a clear mandate to deliver a multimodal transport system that contributes to the country's larger development goals including economic growth, expansion of employment, geographic expansion of opportunities, environmental sustainability, and energy security."
  • The Centre is also reportedly planning to build 35 multi-modal logistics parks by investing more than ?50,000 crore.
  • In a bid to link India to global supply chains and logistics, the Union Cabinet had last month approved India's accession to the United Nations TIR Convention.
  • It will allow Indian traders hassle-free access to the global system for movement of goods by road or multimodal means across the territories.

 

 

GS III:  ECONOMY- INFRASTRUCTURE

 Satellite port to come up at Vijayadurg

  • A satellite port will come up at Vijayadurg in Sindhudurg district, said Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) chairman I. Jeyakumar on 22 April 2017.
  • The facility will be built under the Centre's Integrated Port Development Scheme.
  • Besides MPT, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Maharashtra Maritime Board are working together on a plan to develop the new port.

 

GS  III:  DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Heat claimed 4,620 lives in four years

  • Over 4,620 people died in India due to severe heat wave over the last four years, of which only Andhra Pradesh and Telangana accounted for about 92 per cent, according to the government data.
  • A total of 4,246 people died in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana alone during these four years, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Last year, nearly 1,600 people died due to erratic weather conditions, of which 557 casualties were because of severe heat wave.
  • Since last year IMD has started issuing heat wave alerts.
  • A heat wave is declared when the temperature is 45 degrees Celsius or more.
  • If the temperature rises 4.5 degrees or more above normal, then the condition is termed as a ‘heat wave.'
  • A severe heat wave is declared when the temperature is 47 degrees Celsius or more.
  • If the variance is 6.5 degrees or more, above normal, then it is classified as a ‘severe heat wave.'
  • With global temperatures on the rise, the instances of heat wave are increasing.

 

 

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA - CYPRUS

Cyprus sees role for India

  • President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi if there is any way he can help in his country's efforts to reunify the northern and southern parts of Cyprus, he told a group of visiting journalists on 21 April 2017.
  • This he will seek when he visits New Delhi from April 25, with four ministers and a strong business delegation.
  • In an interaction in the presidential palace, he explained the rationale by saying, "Those who are closely connected with Turkey can give us the strongest hand in our efforts."
  • In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus, overran parts of it and has since stationed troops in the north.
  • There is a ceasefire line that cuts across Cyprus, monitored by UN troops.
  • The Indian government supports us on the basis of the UN resolution.
  • Cyprus is looking for India's help in developing a technology park along the lines of Silicon Valley, the President said.
  • Cyprus is pitching itself as both an investment destination and as a bridge to both Europe and the Gulf region, given both its location as well as its relations with the countries in the region.
  • India used Cyprus's help to help evacuate its citizens from Lebanon in 2006, for instance.
  • Cyprus supports India in its bid to enter the UN Security Council as a permanent member.
  • It supports India's efforts on the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • Cyprus has consistently spoken in favour of India in various international fora on Kashmir.

 

 

GS III :  CORRUPTION

Corruption, the top pain: poll

  • Corruption and the ways to fight it remain a major concern for the people, if the poll for pledges taken under the New India campaign run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 12 is any indicator.
  • Senior sources involved with the poll, asking participants to choose from nine programmes that they will pledge to work with, said that of the over 2.5 lakh respondents, the pledge to work for a corruption-free India got the highest response.
  • "Nearly 70% of the respondents voted for a pledge to fight corruption. This was followed by Swachch Bharat and at number three was the campaign for Accessible India, of making public spaces accessible for the physically challenged," a source said.

  

 

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA -U.K.

38 Indians detained in U.K. for visa breach

  • Britain's immigration officials have detained 38 Indians, including nine women, for overstaying their visas or working illegally, after raids were conducted in two clothing factories in the city of Leicester.
  • The U.K. Home Office Immigration Enforcement team raided MK Clothing Ltd and Fashion Times UK Ltd in the city in the East Midlands region of England last week and held 38 Indians and one Afghan man.
  • Of those detained, 31 had outstayed their visas.

 

GS III :  DEFENCE

Army plans to raise inclusiveness

  • The just-concluded biannual Army Commanders' Conference has debated ways of optimum utilisation of personnel as the Service has a "highly pyramidal structure" and hence over "50% personnel are not promoted despite being highly competent".
  • In a statement on 23 April 2017, the Army said its core values had not changed, and rapid "societal changes and discernible impact of socio-economic aspirations on Army" had been a focus area of the conference.
  • Various measures to enhance transparency and inclusiveness were deliberated.
  • This comes against the backdrop of concerns on the sahayak system in the Army after a series of videos had surfaced on social media recently in which serving personnel alleged that they were forced to do menial jobs.
  • Under the orderly system, jawans are assigned to officers to perform certain specified personal tasks.
  • The government has promised a full review of the system, but no proposal has been made to abolish it.
  • "The proposals to make Short Service Commission officers' entry scheme more popular, streamlining the intake pattern, employment of women officers and grant of honorary ranks to Junior Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers have been deliberated with positive road maps," the statement added.
  • In his closing address, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, expressed confidence at the way the force had been adapting itself to the "dynamic internal and external operational environment", and stressed the need to work in a collaborative manner for maintaining the combat effectiveness of the Army.
  • Addressing the conference, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, and Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa emphasised the need to evolve a joint operational philosophy.

 

GS II :  BILATERAL -INDIA - AUSTRALIA

Now, Australia wants a LEMOA

  • Australia has put forward a proposal to have a logistics support agreement with India on the lines of the one concluded with the U.S.
  • However, yet to take a call on it, India has said that it would first like to get the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with the U.S. operational.
  • India and Australia have been expanding their military- to-military cooperation, especially in the maritime domain, given their shared interests and concerns in the Indian Ocean, with the rapid expansion of China's naval presence in the region.
  • To facilitate cooperation in this regard, Australia has proposed a logistics agreement and has already submitted a draft to India 18 months back.
  • The proposal comes in the backdrop of Australia's recent request for observer status during this year's Malabar trilateral naval exercises scheduled to be held in July.

 

GS III :  ECONOMY

Delay in quota reforms to erode IMF's credibility, says Jaitley

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has expressed disappointment over the slow pace of International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reforms and said any further delay would erode the legitimacy and credibility of the multilateral organisation.
  • Given that there is a broad agreement on maintaining the current overall lending capacity of the Fund and that the IMF's existing resource pool is excessively tilted towards borrowed resources, there is a "dire need" for increasing quotas, he added.
  • "We are disappointed that the deadline for completing the 15th GRQ (General Review of Quotas) has been pushed back to no later than the 2019 annual meetings," Mr. Jaitlety added.
  • India has been pressing for IMF quota reforms as it would give more say to developing nations in the activities of the multi-lateral organisation.
  • Also the quota reform would reflect the changed economic realities, especially with regard to the increasing prowess of the developing nations.

 

 

 

GS II :  REGULATORY BODIES  SEBI

SEBI lines up reforms to check flow of black money

  • Capital markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), will soon put in place stricter norms to check any flow of black money into stock market though controversy-ridden P-Notes and also initiate steps for allowing mutual fund investments through e-wallets.
  • Besides, SEBI will consider this week new norms for allowing options trading in commodity derivative market, while rules would be relaxed for registration of foreign investors and for common licence to brokers to deal in equities and commodities, sources said.
  • The SEBI board will meet on 26 April 2017, which would be its first meeting under the chairmanship of Ajay Tyagi, who took charge on March 1.
  • Among a slew of reform measures, the SEBI board will also consider making it easier for banks and financial institutions to get shares of the companies they have exposure to by way of conversion of loan into equity - a move seen as a major boost to the steps for handling the bad loan menace.
  • The offshore derivative instruments, commonly known as participatory notes (PNotes), which have been long seen as being possibly misused for routing of black money from abroad.
  • While SEBI has tightened its norms repeatedly over the recent years to check any loophole, the government now wants the regulator to explicitly impose restrictions on resident Indians and NRIs from being ‘beneficiary owners' of these instruments.

 

 

 

 

GS III :   S&T

3D-printing conquers glass

  • Scientists have developed a novel way to 3D-print objects using glass, an advance that could be used to make very small optical components for complex computers.
  • Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany mixed nanoparticles of high-purity quartz glass and a small quantity of liquid polymer and allowed the mixture to be cured by light at specific points - by means of stereolithography.
  • Stereolithography is a form of 3D-printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerisation, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, forming polymers.
  • The material, which remains a liquid, is washed out in a solvent bath, leaving only the desired cured structure.
  • A variety of 3D-printing techniques available so far have been used on polymers or metals, but rarely on glass.
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