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Current Affairs 25 April 2017

 

NEWS 

25 April 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III:   SECURITY

25 CRPF men killed in Maoist attack

2.

GS  II :  GOVERNANCE

Panel moots UID numbers for cows

3.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT

Goldman Prize for Niyamgiri hero

4.

GS II :   SOCIAL-CHILD ISSUES

‘Child artistes can work for only 5 hours a day'

5.

GS II :  POLITY- JUDICIARY

SC for broad anti-torture legislation

6.

GS II :   SOCIAL- EDUCATION

Moderation system to end

7.

GS III :  DEFENCE

Sukhois join frontline squadron in Punjab

8.

GS II :  GOVERNANCE

Solve a problem, win Rs.1 crore

9.

GS  II : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

WB, IMF try to woo Trump government

10.

GS II:  SOCIAL-HEALTH

Ghana, Kenya, Malawi to pilot malaria vaccine

11.

GS II : BILATERAL -INDIA -U.S.

‘Only six of top 20 H-1B recipients are Indian firms'

12.

GS III:  ECONOMY

China revokes licences of 29 steel firms

13.

GS III:  ECONOMY

India aims to cut oil products imports as it spurs alternatives

14.

GS III:  ECONOMY

Govt. to auction mines for coal-to-gas projects

15.

GS  I : ART AND CULTURE

K. Viswanath wins Phalke award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS III:   SECURITY

25 CRPF men killed in Maoist attack

  • In one of the deadliest attacks on security forces, Maoists killed 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and injured seven in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh on 24 April 2017.
  • In retaliatory fire, 10 to 12 Maoists were shot dead.
  • The attack took place when a team of around 100 CRPF men, was out to provide protection for road construction work in the area.
  • This is the second Maoist attack in the last 50 days in Sukma.

 

GS  II :  GOVERNANCE POLICY

Panel moots UID numbers for cows

  • The Centre has proposed issuing "Unique Identification Number Sequences" for cows and their progeny to protect them from cattle smuggling.
  • The plan is the brainchild of the Union Agriculture Ministry for "tamper-proof identification of cattle using polyurethane tags with a Unique Identification Number Sequence."
  • The Committee recommended that each animal betagged with proper records of identification details, including age, breed, sex, lactation, height, body, colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks.
  • It said "mass-tagging" of cattle was already practised for insurance purpose.

GS II: NGOs

Goldman Prize for Niyamgiri hero

  • Activist Prafulla Samantara was named on 24 April 2017 as one of the six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize for 2017.
  • The prize citation said he was honoured for his "...historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondhs' land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine."
  • Mr. Samantara was one of the key leaders responsible for rallying tribes, indigenous to Odisha's Niyamgiri region, and using legal provisions to thwart mining-to-metals conglomerate, Vedanta.
  • The company was later forced to suspend plans to mine bauxite in the region.
  • Dongria Kondh is an 8,000-member indigenous tribe in Odisha.
  • The Niyamgiri Hills are sacred to them, and as such, the Dongria consider themselves to be its custodians.
  • Five other Indians - Medha Patkar, M.C. Mehta, Rasheeda Bi, Champaran Shukla, Ramesh Agrawal - have won the award since it was instituted in 1990.

History:

  • In October 2004, the Odisha State Mining Company (OMC) signed an agreement with U.K.-based Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite, in the Niyamgiri Hills.
  • The mine threatened 1,660 acres of forests.
  • In 2003, Mr. Samantara saw an announcement in the newspaper about a public hearing to discuss bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri Hills and alerted the Dongria Kondh.
  • He filed a petition with the Supreme Court's panel governing mining activities.
  • Almost a decade later, the Supreme Court ruled on April 18, 2013 that gram sabhas (village councils) would have the final say in mining projects on their land.
  • By August 2013, all 12 tribal village councils had unanimously voted against the mine.

 

 

 

GS II :   SOCIAL - CHILDREN

‘Child artistes can work for only 5 hours a day'

  • The Labour Ministry has proposed draft rules to fix the working conditions for child artistes and for employing children in family enterprises.
  • "No child (artist) shall be allowed to work for more than five hours in a day, and for not more than three hours without rest," as per the draft Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017.
  • Children will be allowed to assist their family in running family enterprises "without affecting" their school education.
  • Under the proposed rules, at least 20% of the income earned by the child artiste will be required to be deposited in a fixed deposit account "in a nationalised bank".
  • The money would be credited to the child after she turns 18.
  • The permission of the district magistrate would be mandatory for engaging a child artiste.
  • The production unit must nominate a person, who would be held responsible for the safety and security of the child artiste, according to the draft rules.
  • A child cannot take part in a "street performance for monetary gain" as per the proposal.
  • The NDA government had brought a new law to govern child labour, known as the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, which put a blanket ban on employment of children below 14 years of age.
  • However, it had made two exceptions in favour of child labour:

1.     children could work as child artistes (in the entertainment sector), and

2.     could "help" in their family enterprises.

  

GS II :  POLITY- JUDICIARY

SC for broad anti-torture legislation

  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said it was a matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation that the government must consider promulgating a standalone, comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of "human degradation" by state authorities.
  • "Such a law is in the national interest. The difficulty that India faces in matters of extradition may be because there is torture," Justice Chandrachud observed.
  • The court referred to the setback suffered by the CBI in its efforts to get Kim Davy - a Danish citizen and prime accused in the Purulia arms drop case of 1995 - extradited from Denmark.
  • A Danish court had rejected the plea on the ground that he would risk "torture or other inhuman treatment" in India.
  • India has signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997, had still not ratified it.
  • The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence.
  • The petitioner ,former Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar, submitted that no steps had been taken to implement the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 even six years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on May 6, 2010 and recommended by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha of which he had been Chairman. This bill lapsed.
  • He informed that the Centre had avoided an independent legislation on torture, saying that some States were not in favour of such a law and the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were more than sufficient.
  • The Solicitor-General said the question of a special law on torture had already been referred to the Law Commission of India. He sought time till May 5, 2017 to respond in detail.

GS II : SOCIAL- EDUCATION

Moderation system to end

  • The Central and State school boards have decided to discontinue moderation, a practice of awarding extra marks to candidates across the board in public examinations.
  • "There are cases in which boards increase marks across the board for all students by as much as 10 to 15%. Students were getting marks as high as 99% in some States."
  • Sources said the boards could continue awarding grace marks. But these would have to be mentioned on the mark sheet.

 

GS III :  DEFENCE

Sukhois join frontline squadron in Punjab

  • The Halwara-based 221 Squadron of the Indian Air Force, "Valiants", has inducted the frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft.
  • The squadron used to fly MiG-23s till they were phased out in 2009. This is a major force accretion as the squadron is based in Punjab facing Pakistan.
  • The Su-30MKI is the most modern multi-role fighter in the Indian Air Force.

 

GS II : GOVERNANCE  POLICY

Solve a problem, win Rs.1 crore

  • The Centre is set to launch a scheme for students from higher educational institutions to volunteer to offer innovative, original and practical solutions to problems facing the country and get rewarded for their efforts.
  • The Human Resource Development Ministry has identified a handful of areas pertaining to which the problem-solving skills of students will be tested.
  • These are affordable healthcare, computer science and ICT, energy (making solar/renewable resources cheaper, energy efficiency, etc.), affordable housing, healthcare, agriculture, education, water resources and river systems, affordable infrastructure, defence, cybersecurity and information security, and environment and climate change.
  • The scheme that will invite students to find solutions to problems in these fields - and offer a prize of Rs.1 crore to the best solution in each field - is to be called IDEAS, or Innovations for Development of Efficient and Affordable Systems.
  • Under each of the above areas or themes, 10 problem statements will be prepared and widely publicised.
  • All higher educational institutions will be eligible and encouraged to participate, but participation of IITs, NITs and CFTIs will be mandatory.

 

GS  II : INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

WB, IMF try to woo Trump government

  • The annual Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that concluded on 23 April 2017 made an elaborate effort to impress the Donald Trump administration that they were of value to his plans for America but there is no evidence that it worked.
  • President Donald Trump's budget draft proposes to cut U.S. support for multilateral development banks over the next three years by $650 million.
  • The U.K. is the top donor and after Brexit, it has increased its global commitments through the World Bank, the official said.
  • The U.K has committed £60 million for the Global Concessional Financing Facility of the total of over $370 million in donor pledges to Jordan and Lebanon for hosting refugees in West Asia, the Bank announced last week.
  • The target is to raise over five years $1 billion for these two countries and an additional $500 million for potential future refugee crises in middle income countries across the globe.
  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has emphasised the ‘humanitarian-development- peace nexus' in the Bank's international engagement, in a change from its traditional development approach.
  • In tangible terms, this translates into an increased willingness by the Bank to intervene in humanitarian crises.

 

GS III:  S&T -HEALTH

Ghana, Kenya, Malawi to pilot malaria vaccine

  • Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will pilot the world's first malaria vaccine from 2018, offering it for babies and children in high-risk areas as part of real life trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 24 April 2017.
  • The injectable vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, was developed by British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline to protect children from the most deadly form of malaria in Africa.
  • In clinical trials it proved only partially effective, and it needs to be given in a four dose schedule, but is the first regulator-approved vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease.
  • Malaria kills around 4,30,000 people a year, the vast majority of them babies and young children in sub- Saharan Africa.
  • Global efforts in the last 15 years cut the malaria death toll by 62% between 2000 and 2015.

 

GS II : BILATERAL -INDIA -U.S.

‘Only six of top 20 H-1B recipients are Indian firms'

  • Refuting the U.S. government's comment on H-1B visa lottery misuse by Indian companies, IT industry body Nasscom on 24 April 2017 said that only 6 of the top 20 H-1B recipients were Indian.
  • The apex body also said two Indian firms, TCS and Infosys, together received only 7,504 approved H-1B visas in FY 2015; that is about 8.8% of the total approved H-1B visas.
  • Last week, a U.S. administration official had said that Indian companies like TCS, Infosys and Cognizant were getting the lion's share of H-1B visas. "...top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant - they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they'll get the lion's share of visas," the official had said.
  • In its statement, Nasscom also said all the Indian IT companies cumulatively accounted for less than 20% of the total approved H-1B visas.
  • Indian nationals get about 71% of H-1B visas.

 

GS II:  INTERNATIONAL CHINA

China revokes licences of 29 steel firms

  • Twenty-nine Chinese steel firms have had their licences revoked as a result of long term production suspensions or failing to comply with state capacity and pollution requirements, China's industry ministry said.
  • Most have already stopped producing steel, but some had illegally expanded production or violated state closure orders.
  • China is now in the middle of a concerted effort to reduce the total number of its steel enterprises by shedding 100 million-150 million tonnes of excess production capacity over the 2016-2020 period and by shutting around 100 million tonnes of low-grade steel production by the end of June this year.
  • China set up an official steel firm register in 2009 in a bid to impose order on a chaotic and poorly regulated industry.

 

GS III:  ECONOMY

India aims to cut oil products imports as it spurs alternatives

  • India is aiming to cut its oil products imports to zero as it turns to alternative fuels such as methanol in its transport sector, a government official said at an investor briefing on 24 April 2017.
  • India also plans to start 15 factories to produce second-generation ethanol from biomass, bamboo and cotton straw as it aims to develop its mandate to blend ethanol into 5% of its gasoline, he added.
  • To cut the carbon footprint, New Delhi wants to raise the use of natural gas in its energy mix to 15% in 3-4 years from 6.5% now.
  • India is developing LNG bunker ports and plans to develop its electric vehicle fleet.

 

GS III:  ECONOMY

Govt. to auction mines for coal-to-gas projects

  • The government will put under the hammer coal blocks for private coal-to-gas, coal-to-liquid, coal-to-polychemical (CTL) projects this financial year, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar said on 24 April 2017.
  • The development takes on significance as domestic coal gas can help lower the country's import bill by $10 billion in five years and cut carbon emission.
  • "Coal India will attempt all this from whatever coal mines they have. Second, fresh coal blocks would be auctioned to the private sector through competitive bidding for exploring coal-to-gas, liquid and polychemicals. We will auction the coal mine for these projects," he said.
  • The process of identification of blocks is under way, he said. The mines will not be out of the 204 cancelled blocks but will be fresh ones under the MMDR Act.

GS  I : CULTURE

K. Viswanath wins Phalke award     

  • Renowned filmmaker and actor Kasinadhuni Viswanath, best known for his award-winning movies in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi, has won the Dadasaheb Phalke award for the year 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the film industry.

Dadasaheb Phalke Award 

  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema.
  • It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke (1870-1944), who is popularly known as and often regarded as "the father of Indian cinema", was an Indian film-maker who directed India's first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra (1913).
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