+91 9004418746enquiry.aashah@gmail.com
+91 9004078746aashahs.ias@gmail.com

Current Events 10 March 2017

 

NEWS 

10 March 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-BANGLADESH

Villagers in Tripura lynch Bangladesh security guard

2.

GS III : S&T  BIOTECHNOLOGY

Punjab varsity develops new Bt cotton varieties

3.

GS II : SOCIAL-WOMEN

Paid maternity leave extended to 26 weeks

4.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-PAKISTAN

India, Pak. DGMOs hold talks

5.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL UN

‘No change in India’s stance on UNSC veto’

6.

GS III : DEFENCE

Committee ticks off govt. on defence allocations

7.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL  USA

No changes in H-1B programme

8.

GS II : MULTILATERAL  COMMONWEALTH

Commonwealth trade meet begins

9.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

India sees options in U.S. energy policy

10.

GS II : GOVERNANCE POLICIES

Centre issues draft rules on e-wallet payments

11.

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

Silk Road made by nomads

12.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT BIODIVERSITY

Ostriches lived in India once

13.

GS III : S&T  HEALTH

Neanderthal used ‘aspirin’ for toothache

14.

GS III: S&T SPACE

Potatoes may grow on Mars, shows experiment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-BANGLADESH

Villagers in Tripura lynch Bangladesh security guard

  • Indian villagers lynched a Bangladesh security personnel and detained another who allegedly tried to loot their village in south Tripura on 8 March 2017 night.
  • The Border Guards, Bangladesh (BGB), in a flag meeting with India’s Border Security Force (BSF), expressed regret over the intrusion and assured a thorough probe.
  • The incident occurred in the Belonia subdivision along the zero line of the border.
  • Around 12 families of the village left the other side of barbed wire fencing as it was erected 150 yard from the border to respect a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh.
  • The families of the ‘enclave’ claimed that 10 personnel of the Ansar organisation, an auxiliary force of the Bangladesh police, and two civilians forcefully entered their homes.
  • The Ansar members were in their official attire and were armed with rifles. Later, the villagers fought the intruders with bamboo sticks and kitchen knives. They mowed down an Ansar man and caught a civilian while the rest got away.

GS III : S&T  BIOTECHNOLOGY

Punjab varsity develops new Bt cotton varieties

  • Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana has announced that it has developed the country’s first genetically-modified varieties of cotton — the seeds of which could be reused by farmers with no commercial restrictions, resulting in savings on repeat purchases every season.
  • “The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified three Bt cotton varieties – PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS2013 – for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. They [ICAR] have asked us to put up a proposal on release of these varieties,” PAU Vice-Chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon told.
  • PAU Bt 1 and F1861 were developed by PAU, while RS2013 was developed at Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Bikaner.
  • While the PAU Bt 1 was completely developed at PAU, the F1861 and RS2013 were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur.
  • All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene imparting resistance against bollworm complex,” a PAU statement said.
  • The genetic modification involves introduction of the Bt bacterial gene that codes for a protein which kills the bollworm cotton pest. Dr. Dhillon said, with these varieties, farmers would not have to buy costly Bt cotton seeds every year.
  • Cotton is the only GM crop allowed to be cultivated in India.
  • Punjab alone needs around 20-25 lakh packets of Bt cotton seed which amounts to about Rs. 225 crore.

Bt cotton issue:

  • Monsanto owns a patent for a synthesised genetic sequence of select genes of Bacillus thuringiensis which when inserted into cotton seeds renders the seeds immune to bollworms and consequentially assists in increasing cotton yield.
  • Monsanto injects seeds with its Bt technology and Indian seed companies enter into licensing agreements by which they pay a trait value (license fee) to Monsanto for using its technology.
  • Monsanto has been accused of overcharging which has lead to the government passing the controversial Seeds Price (Control) Order 2015 and consequential litigation.
http://www.ssrana.in/Admin/UploadDocument/IP%20Updates/INDIA-Monsanto-Served-Notice-for-Revocation-of-its-Bt-Cotton-Patent.htm

 

GS II : SOCIAL-WOMEN

Paid maternity leave extended to 26 weeks

  • Calling it a ‘humble gift’ to women in India, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya welcomed the Parliament nod to the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
  • Women working in the organised sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks.
  • The bill will benefit about 1.8 million women. The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people, and the entitlement applies only up to the first two children. For the third child, the maternity leave entitlement will only be for 12 weeks.
  • The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Lok Sabha on 9 March 2017, months after the Rajya Sabha approved the measure that takes India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave, after Canada and Norway, where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively.

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-PAKISTAN

India, Pak. DGMOs hold talks

  • India conveyed its concerns to Pakistan regarding the movement of terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) as well as repatriation of two of its nationals who crossed the LoC post-Uri terror attack.
  • The information was conveyed during an unscheduled call between the Indian Army’s Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt, and his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the Army said in a statement.
  • “These concerns arise primarily from specific inputs of Pakistani regulars training terrorists for infiltration and cross-border raids. The specifics of them have been shared with Pakistan DGMO,” one Army source said.
  • As winter ends and summer sets in, infiltration sees a gradual increase along the LoC and the Army is gearing up for a surge this year in view of the unrest in Kashmir.
  • On 8 March 2017, the National Investigation Agency had handed over the two Pakistani youths, Faisal Hussain Awan and Ahsan Khursheed, to the Army’s 16 Corps headquarters in Jammu.
  • They were arrested in connection with the last year’s terror attack on the military camp in Uri in which 19 soldiers were killed.

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL  UN

‘No change in India’s stance on UNSC veto’

  • India is ready to accept a United Nations (UN) permanent Security Council seat without using a veto for the first 15 years, the MEA confirmed.
  • Answering questions on the stand taken by India’s Ambassador to the UN, where he addressed the General Assembly’s Inter Governmental Negotiations on behalf of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan (called the G-4), MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said there had been “no change in the government’s position” on securing veto power at the UNSC, but India did not wish to “impede” the process.
  • In his submission Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin had said that India and other G-4 countries were ready to accept a moratorium on using the veto.
  • “While the new permanent members would as a principle have the same responsibilities and obligations as current permanent members they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review [expected after 15 years],” Mr. Akbaruddin said.
  • “The Indian Ambassador’s statement merely stresses that the matter of veto need not be made into something to protract urgently needed reforms of the Security Council,” added Mr. Baglay.
  • According to officials, India is hopeful that the Chairpersons of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) will now put out a text recording every country’s views to take the reforms to the next step.

 

GS III : DEFENCE

Committee ticks off govt. on defence allocations

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence pointed out the bizarre reality that this year’s defence budget is not sufficient to meet even the committed liabilities in the case of the Navy.
  • Overall the committee observed that the budgetary provisions for 2017-18 as well as the “dismal status of capital procurements” do not reciprocate the “seriousness” required towards meeting defence needs.
  • This year, the allocation is Rs. 18,000 crore in the capital budget, whereas the committed liabilities itself are to the extent of Rs. 22,000 crore,” the report noted about the Navy.
  • This means that the allocation would not be sufficient to pay for the deals already contracted.
  • These observations were part of Report no. 29 on ‘Demands and Grants’ tabled in the Lok Sabha on 9 March 2017.
  • In the case of the Army, the committee observed that the Army is expected to meet the vast responsibilities of ensuring external and internal security and for that, it is “quintessence” that Army personnel be equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, but said the plummeting trend in funding does not reciprocate the huge expectations laid upon the Service.
  • For the Air Force, the report noted that the budget allocated exclusively for ‘new schemes’ is only Rs. 4,000 crore, which it noted would “hamper the modernisation drive” of the force as expenses related to the procurement of aircraft and related equipment are high cost in nature.
  • The Committee also pulled up the defence ministry on its ‘Make in India’ initiative. In 2016-17, a total budget of Rs.  22,222,34 crore was actually spent on modernisation by the Air Force, of which the report said only Rs. 268.10 crore, that is, about 1% of the ‘spending’, was signed with Indian vendors.
  • The Committee also took serious note of the fact that while on one hand, “the Ministry of Finance cites the slow pace of spending as the reason for making lower allocations, on the other, there are some crucial proposals lying with the Ministry and are pending approval.”

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL USA

No changes in H-1B programme

  • There will be no changes in the H-1B visa programme for skilled temporary foreign workers before this year’s selection process kicks off on April 1, the White House indicated.
  • The U.S. admits 85,000 people on H-1B visas every year, through a lottery process that begins with the filing of applications on April 1.
  • Press secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump was focused on dealing with illegal immigration at the moment and the overall revamp of the immigration process will come subsequently.
  • While Mr. Trump’s preference for merit-based immigration as opposed to family linked immigration could be seen as beneficial for Indian tech workers, any direct correlation could be misleading.
  • Mr. Trump has spoken about merit-based immigration throughout his campaign, even while opposing immigrant workers allegedly undercutting or replacing American workers.
  • Top on the administration’s priority is work permit for spouses of H-1B visa holders, which was introduced through an executive action by the Obama administration.

 

GS II : MULTILATERAL  COMMONWEALTH

Commonwealth trade meet begins

  • An inaugural Commonwealth summit focused on stimulating trade within the group kicked off on 9 March 2017 in London, as government representatives and business people gathered to discuss opportunities for growth.
  • The meeting, though planned before last year’s Brexit referendum, has acquired new significance as a result of it, as Britain pushes for trade deals beyond the EU borders.
  • The organisers hope this will kick-start further action on strengthening cross-Commonwealth trade, ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the U.K., which is expected to bring together leaders as well as 2,000 businesses from across the group.
  • The Commonwealth leadership is targeting an increase in intra-group trade to $1 trillion by 2020, from $750 billion.
  • “Protectionism can be a seductive but a false friend.” “When countries protect themselves, it will give short term benefit to sectors but it can do great harm,” said New Zealand’s Minister for Trade Todd McClay ahead of the discussions.
  • “We need outcomes that help bring us together and make trade freer and fairer and helps our economies grow.”

 

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA-USA

India sees options in U.S. energy policy

  • President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers have already set in motion a series of measures that will deregulate American oil, gas and coal sectors and India sees an opportunity to enhance bilateral cooperation in these areas in the coming years.
  • Thirty percent of all increase in world’s energy demand from now to 2040 will be from India.
  • India will start importing Liquefied Natural Gas from the U.S. in 2018 under contracts signed during the previous Obama administration.
  • Right pricing will enable India to ramp up imports from the U.S.
  • The Trump administration’s focus is on making American oil and gas sector competitive in the world market and it does not want environmental concerns holding back the sector.
  • By deregulating oil and gas, and rolling back incentives available to non–conventional energy industry, the Trump administration is hoping to create a boom in the U.S. oil and gas market.
  • Three Indian public sector companies, GAIL, Oil India and IOC and Reliance have invested in U.S. shale gas production.
  • Petroleum Minister, Mr. Pradhan said cooperation could be in the areas of clean coal technology, and in converting coal to synthetic gas.
  • “American technology and investment could be of great help in coal sector. U.S technology will also be helpful in building smart grids and reducing transmission losses,” said Mr. Pradhan.

 

GS II : GOVERNANCE POLICIES

Centre issues draft rules on e-wallet payments

  • The Centre has issued draft rules to ensure integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic payments made through prepaid payment instruments (PPIs), popularly called e-wallets.
  • The draft rules, on which the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has sought public comments, make it mandatory for e-PPI (electronic pre-payment instrument) issuers to develop an information security policy that ensures that the systems operated by them are secure.
  • The Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Instruments) Rules, 2017, define an e-PPI issuer as a “person operating a payment system issuing prepaid payment instruments to individuals/ organisations” under the aegis of Reserve Bank of India.
  • The rules make it compulsory for e- PPIs to publish on their websites and mobile applications both their ‘privacy policy’ and terms for use of their payment systems.
  • The rules mandate that e-PPIs should carry out risk assessment to spot security risks and also ensure adequate due diligence is done before issuing PPIs.

 

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

Silk Road made by nomads

  • The Great Silk Road that spans many countries including India was carved by nomads moving herds to lush mountain pastures nearly 5,000 years ago, long before Marco Polo traversed the vast trans-Asian trade route, a study has found.
  • The study employed satellite imaging, geographic information systems and archaeological analysis to show that 75% of the ancient Silk Road sites across highland inner Asia fell along the paths its model simulates as optimal for moving herds to and from prime mountain meadows.
  • The route grew out of historically ingrained pathways of nomads who were knowledgeable and strategic in mountain mobility, researchers said in a paper published in Nature.

 

GS I : ENVIRONMENT BIODIVERSITY

Ostriches lived in India once

  • Based on a DNA analysis of a fossilised eggshell fragment of ostrich, Indian researchers have for the first time found molecular evidence to confirm the presence of these birds in India more than 25,000 years ago.
  • Scientists found 92% genetic similarity between the fossil eggshell samples and Struthio camelus, an ostrich species found in Africa.
  • The ostrich sample analysed has close proximity to the African ostrich species and underlines the movement of these birds between Africa and India before the Indian landmass drifted away from Africa.

 

GS III : S&T  HEALTH

Neanderthal used ‘aspirin’ for toothache

  • Nearly 50,000 years before the invention of penicillin, a young Neanderthal with toothache ate greenery containing a natural pain killer, analysis of his teeth has revealed.
  • He ate an antibiotic fungus called Penicillium and chewed on bits of poplar tree containing salicylic acid — the active ingredient of modern day aspirin, said a study.

GS III: S&T SPACE

Potatoes may grow on Mars, shows experiment

  • Experiments by the International Potato Centre (CIP) in Lima, Peru, have shown that it is likely that the tuber can grow on Mars.
  • The new phase of CIP’s trial to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began on February 14, 2016.
  • Based on inputs provided by NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California, a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat contained environment built by engineers from the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima.
  • “If the crops can tolerate the extreme conditions that we are exposing them to in our CubeSat, they have a good chance to grow on Mars. We will do several rounds of experiments to find out which potato varieties do best,” said Julio Valdivia-Silva from UTEC.
  • He said the team was trying to assess the “minimum conditions” needed for potato seedlings to survive.
  • The CubeSat houses a container holding soil and the tuber. Inside this hermetically sealed environment, the CubeSat delivers nutrient-rich water, controls the temperature for Mars day and night conditions, and mimics Mars air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
  • Live streaming cameras recording the soil showed potato sprouting in the simulated Martian conditions.
  • The results so far have been encouraging, the researchers said.
Back to Top