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Current Affairs 29 April 2017

 

NEWS 

29 April 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.        

 GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

 SC offers to set the stage for peace talks in Kashmir

2.        

 GS II: GOVERNANCE POLICY

 Flying to become paperless soon

3.        

 GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

 Train tickets on demand by 2020               

4.        

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

 Now, Karnan ‘bans’ travel of SC judges

5.        

 GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

 Smart ‘pebbles’ to monitor air, water

6.        

GS III: SECURITY   

 Maoists kill 2 tribals; security forces destroy two camps

7.        

GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

 Notice to Ganga after getting human status

8.        

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

 Security cost row hits UDAN’s flight

9.        

GS III: MONEY LAUNDERING

 Money laundering may be made criminal offence

10.     

 GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-CYPRUS

 Cyprus calls for action against backers of ‘violence factories’

11.     

 GS III: ECONOMY GST

 Internet link issues may delay GST

12.     

 GS II: MULTILATERAL EEU

 India to seal pact with Russia-led grouping

13.     

 GS III: S&T  ENERGY

 A safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






 

GS II: POLITY JUDICIARY

SC offers to set the stage for peace talks in Kashmir

  • Even as the Supreme Court offered to set the stage for peace talks between influential voices in Kashmir and the Centre to facilitate the return of normality to the Valley, the government put its foot down, saying it will not break bread with secessionist forces and cannot brook the risk of withdrawing security forces from the sensitive border State.
  • Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said the government cannot negotiate with separatists.
  • The Centre said it would "absolutely" not entertain any talks of azadi with these leaders.

 

GS II: GOVERNANCE POLICY

Flying to become paperless soon

  • The Government is working on a DigiYatra plan to allow paperless travel for air passengers, including digital boarding passes at airports, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said.
  • The Centre is looking to make either Aadhaar or passport mandatory to book air tickets so that passengers needn't carry a printout of the ticket or document proof while entering the airport.
  • The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad had started a pilot project in 2015 allowing passengers to enter Aadhaar number at kiosks set up at one of the entry gates. The Hyderabad airport plans to implement it soon at all the entry gates.
  • Similarly, Mumbai and Bengaluru airports had also shown interest in introducing biometric screening at airport entry gates.

 

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

Train tickets on demand by 2020

  • Indian Railways will offer train ticket reservation to passengers on demand on all trains by 2020, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
  • He said providing confirmed tickets on demand will be possible once the existing railway network capacity freed up for passengers by opening up Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) by 2019 and increasing the capacity on existing routes.
  • "Over the decades, the freight traffic has gone up by 1,344%, passenger traffic increased by 1,642% but the route per kilometre has increased only by 23%," Mr. Prabhu said, at the Confederation of Indian Industry Annual Session 2017-18 organised here.
  • "The only way we can address this issue is by augmenting the capacity", he said.
  • The Railway Minister said that two-third of the railway tracks handle passenger traffic which account for one-third of the revenues whereas the freight, which accounts for two-third revenues, is given the least priority.
  • "So, when the DFC comes up, major trunk routes will operate on DFC so that other tracks are freed for passenger traffic," Mr. Prabhu said.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

Now, Karnan ‘bans' travel of SC judges

  • Calcutta High Court judge C.S. Karnan deferred the hearing of his case against seven Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice of India J. S. Kehar, who had issued a contempt order against him.
  • Justice Karnan also directed the Air Control Authority, New Delhi, "not to permit the said accused" to travel abroad till the case is disposed off, since their "offence" involves caste discrimination.
  • In February 2017, the Supreme Court issued a contempt of court notice against Justice Karnan for allegedly degrading the judicial institution.
  • A seven-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Khehar heard Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi who said that Justice Karnan should face contempt proceedings for his "scurrilous" letters against sitting and retired High Court and Supreme Court judges.
  • Justice Karnan had written to the Prime Minister and allegedly accused several retired and sitting Supreme Court and High Court judges of corruption.

 

GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Smart ‘pebbles' to monitor air, water

  • Soon, the Rs. 18,000-crore Ganga river-cleaning project may be monitored by smart pebbles, tiny low-cost, low-power sensors that assess water quality.
  • Similar devices could monitor a range of variables, from bacterial levels in a river to heavy metal concentration in the atmosphere.
  • Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said that about 40 proposals to make the sensors had come in, and two would be short-listed within the next month. Intel will make the chips powering the devices.
  • The sensors will need to work for at least a year, getting power from solar, wind, flowing water, wave motion and mechanical vibrations.

 

GS III: SECURITY

Maoists kill 2 tribals; security forces destroy two camps

  • Maoists killed two tribals in Malkangiri district alleging that they were police informers, while security forces destroyed their camps in Rayagada and Kandhamal districts following exchanges of fire.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION

Notice to Ganga after getting human status

  • After being accorded human status recently, the Ganga river received its first legal notice from the Uttarakhand High Court asking it to explain why its land was given for construction of a trenching ground.
  • The notice was issued by a Division Bench comprising Justice V.K. Bisht and Justice Alok Singh on a PIL filed by a Rishikesh resident Swaroop Singh Pundir.
  • Officials made custodians of the Ganga when it was granted human status by the high court, including the chief secretary, the advocate-general and the director of the Namami Gange project will respond to the legal notice on behalf of the river.
  • The Uttarakhand High Court had earlier this year accorded the status of "living human entities" to the Ganga and Yamuna rivers to help in their "preservation and conservation".

 

GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE

Security cost row hits UDAN's flight

  • The government's low-cost regional air connectivity scheme has led to inter-ministerial tussle over the cost of the security infrastructure for the project.
  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation already owes Rs. 800 crore to the Home Ministry for deploying Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and other central police forces at 59 airports.
  • The addition of 43 airports under the UDAN scheme is going to add considerably to the cost.
  • The Finance Ministry has suggested that the cost be borne by passengers.
  • A meeting between the three ministries to discuss unified security architecture for the aviation sector and consolidation of security at airports under the CISF, failed to reach a consensus.
  • The matter may now go to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
  • Out of the 98 functional airports in the country, 59 are under CISF cover, while the rest are guarded by the State police or paramilitary forces.

 

GS III: MONEY LAUNDERING

Money laundering may be made criminal offence

  • The Central government is considering a proposal to make money laundering a separate criminal offence to be investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, irrespective of a probe by other agencies.
  • This will facilitate quick action against those indulging in money laundering.
  • The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has also been of the view that money laundering investigations by the Enforcement Directorate should be allowed without any dependence on registration of cases by other police agencies under the legal provisions listed in the schedule of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • Under the current arrangement in India, the fate of money laundering cases depends on that of the probe and prosecutions in predicate offences pursued by primary agencies.
  • Money laundering in itself has been defined as a criminal offence in several countries including United States and U.K.
  • According to experts, the government will have to bring about several amendments to the PMLA, including the current definition of the "proceeds of crime" that is right now dependent upon the predicate offences as listed in the Act's schedule.

 

GS II: BILATERAL INDIA-CYPRUS

Cyprus calls for action against backers of ‘violence factories'

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades strongly pitched for decisive action against states supporting, sheltering and sustaining "violence factories" in their regions.
  • The two leaders held detailed discussions on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.
  • These included ways to boost trade ties and U.N. Security Council reforms.
  • Cyprus also wants India to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • Cyprus is the eighth largest investor in India.
  • Both sides also signed four pacts, including one for air services and another on cooperation in merchant shipping.

 

GS III: ECONOMY GST

Internet link issues may delay GST

  • Poor Internet connectivity is turning out to be a challenge for the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), particularly in the North East, as the Centre pushes for the July 1 deadline to implement the new indirect tax regime.
  • Revenue Secretary red-flagging various connectivity issues, which if not addressed at the earliest, may lead to a delay in implementation of the biggest indirect tax reform.
  • In his communique to the Telecom Secretary dated April 21, he had requested that a senior Department of Telecom official be entrusted the work of "supervising the connectivity in North East and have all these complaints removed."
  • The implementation of GST requires high-speed connectivity between the GST server and the State VAT data centre, and also between District VAT office and State VAT office since the processing of returns, among other processes, is done online.
  • Additionally, all dealers have to upload invoice-wise details online.

 

GS II: MULTILATERAL EEU

India to seal pact with Russia-led grouping

  • India is set to formalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union, clearing the decks for negotiations on deepening trade relations with the five former Soviet republics.
  • The Eurasian Economic Union comprises Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Trade between India and the five Eurasian countries stands at about $11 billion.
  • The FTA with the Eurasian countries was dictated by India's need to diversify into new markets. We have a targeted trade of $30 billion with the five countries by 2025 and $15 billion annual investment.

 

Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

  • It is an economic union of states located primarily in northern Eurasia.
  • A treaty aiming for the establishment of the EAEU was signed on 29 May 2014 by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force on 1 January 2015.
  • Treaties aiming for Armenia's and Kyrgyzstan's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union were signed on 9 October and 23 December 2014, respectively.
  • The EAEU introduces the free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common policies in macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust regulation.
  • Provisions for a single currency and greater integration are envisioned in future.

 

GS III: S&T  ENERGY

A safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries

  • Scientists have developed a safer alternative to fire-prone lithium-ion batteries, which are common in household devices such as smartphones and laptops.
  • Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed the nickel-zinc (Ni-Zn) batteries in which a three-imensional Zn "sponge" replaces the powdered zinc anode, or positively charged electrode, traditionally used.
  • With 3D Zn, the battery provides an energy content and rechargeability that rival lithium-ion batteries while avoiding the safety issues that continue to plague lithium.

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