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

Current Events 17 January 2017

 

NEWS

17 JANUARY 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III :  ECONOMY

GST stalemate resolved, rollout deferred to July 1

2.

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC mulls regulatory mechanism for apps

3.

GS II: POLITY-ELECTIONS

Akhilesh to ride the ‘cycle’

4.

GS II: POLITY –  JUDICIARY

SC-appointed panel to tackle air pollution

5.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT

Centre notifies green action plan for Delhi

6.

GS II :  POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC revives hearing on Andhra bifurcation

7.

GS III :  ECONOMY

CSIR set to launch ₨400-cr startup fund

8.

GS III : DEFENCE

Parrikar wants private players to tap DRDO’s knowledge base

9.

GS III :  ENVIRONMENT  - BIODIVERSITY

Findings on pest menace under a cloud

10.

GS II:  POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC slams States’ stance on PILs

11.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Demonetisation has hit India’s growth: IMF

12.

GS II: SOCIAL-HEALTH

‘Sanitising of cattle-sheds key to prevent malaria’


GS III :  ECONOMY

GST stalemate resolved, rollout deferred to July 1

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that the rollout date of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been deferred to July 1 and that the GST Council had reached a consensus on the crucial issue of dual control.
  • He said that 90 per cent of the GST taxpayers with up to Rs. 1.5 crore turnover would be assessed by the States and those above Rs. 1.5 crore would be assessed by both the States and the Centre on a 50:50 basis.
  • The Finance Minister said that while the power to levy and collect the Interstate GST (IGST) will lie with the Central government, a special provision would cross-empower the States in the same ratio agreed upon  for tax assesses.
  • The GST will subsume a host of indirect taxes levied by the Centre and the States, including excise duty, VAT, service tax, entry, luxury and entertainment levies.
  • Parliament passed the landmark constitutional amendment in August 2016 and more than half of State legislatures ratified it by mid-September.

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC mulls regulatory mechanism for apps

  • The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to see if it was feasible to bring Internet messaging applications like WhatsApp under a statutory regulatory framework.
  • The above direction came when two law students had challenged a Delhi High Court order upholding WhatsApp’s 2016 policy to share user information with Facebook, arguing that it was a violation of a citizen’s privacy.
  • What is disturbing here is you want to continue using this private service and at the same time want to protect your privacy. You can choose to not avail yourself of it... you walk out of it. But if you continue, we cannot answer for privacy,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar initially told senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for the students.
  • “No, no. You pay for your telephone calls.... you get your privacy. Here [Whats- App] you don’t pay. This is a private service,” said Chief Justice Khehar, who is heading a Bench also comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
  • Countering the court’s logic, Mr. Salve said even telephone calls had become free. “The Government of India should protect my rights under Article 19 [freedom of speech and expression].
  • Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) says that interception of calls without the government’s order is an illegality... Here, TRAI is doing nothing,” Mr. Salve submitted.
  • The court finally agreed to hear the challenge at length during the summer holidays in mid-May, along with certain other important constitutional cases.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was established in 1997 by an Act of Parliament to regulate telecom services and tariffs in India.
  • Earlier regulation of telecom services and tariffs was overseen by the Central Government.
  • TRAI's mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in India to enable the country to have a leading role in the emerging global information society.
  • One of its main objectives is to provide a fair and transparent environment that promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition in the market.
  • TRAI regularly issues orders and directions on various subjects such as  tariffs, interconnections, quality of service, Direct To Home (DTH) services and mobile number portability.


GS II: POLITY
-ELECTIONS

Akhilesh to ride the ‘cycle’

  • The Election Commission allocated Samajwadi Party symbol 'cycle' to the Akhilesh Yadav faction, observing that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister enjoyed a majority in the party’s organisational and legislative structures.
  • In its 42-page order, the Commission weighed the arguments put forth by the Mulayam Singh and the Akhilesh factions and did not find much substance in the assertions of the former.
  • Based on the test of numerical majority, as upheld by the Supreme Court in the Sadiq Ali case, the EC decided to allocate the symbol to the Akhilesh group.
  • The EC had held a hearing of both the factions on their claims and counter claims.

 

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC-appointed panel to tackle air pollution

  • Concerned over the deteriorating air quality in Delhi and the NCR, the Environment Ministry has amended laws and formally tasked a Supreme Court-appointed panel with implementing a graded action plan for pollution control.
  • The comprehensive plan, prepared by the CPCB, focusing on Delhi was submitted to the Supreme Court on December 2.
  • The court had accepted the plan and asked the Centre to notify it. Once the plan is notified, measures like odd-even car rationing scheme and ban on construction activities will be enforced if level of PM 2.5 breaches 300 micrograms per cubic metre and PM 10 levels stay above 500 micrograms per cubic metre for two consecutive days.

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT

Centre notifies green action plan for Delhi

  • “In pursuance of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central government hereby assigns the task of implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan to the EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority)..." states the gazette notification, dated January 12.
  • The plan also recommends that during 'very poor' air quality, diesel generators must be banned and parking fee increased by three to four times.
  • The plan lists a number of other measures such as closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers and intensifying public transport services besides increasing the frequency of mechanised cleaning and sprinkling of water on roads.

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC revives hearing on Andhra bifurcation

  • What better “index” to ascertain whether a State is to be divided or not other than public demand, the Supreme Court said.
  • The observation came from a Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud while reviving a bunch of petitions filed by leading Telugu politicians across parties (including Congress, BJP and Telugu Desam),  challenging the bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
  • They had wanted the apex court to declare the bifurcation as an illegal and unconstitutional act.
  • Though it issued a notice to the Centre in 2014, a Supreme Court Bench led by then Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, leading to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the formation of new State Telangana.
  • After almost three years in cold storage, the petitions were listed now.
  • A battery of lawyers for the petitioners demanded that there should be a “federal index” for State formation. The Centre cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over the federal structure of democracy and divide States into bits.
  • “What can be a better index than the entire State demanding it [bifurcation],” Chief Justice Khehar questioned.
  • The petitions claimed that the Centre had introduced the Bill when it was rejected by the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature.
  • It had contended the legality of the provision in the 2014 Act for a common Capital for Telangana and Andhra for a whole decade.
  • The petitions said the bifurcation was a violation of the Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution, federalism. The Centre had to first consult the State legislature before passing any law to merge or divide it.

GS III :  S&T-INDIAN

CSIR set to launch ₨400-cr startup fund

  • The CSIR is in the process of setting up an innovation fund, worth ₨400-500 crore, to invest in early stage startups and prod innovation
  • “The proposal has been cleared in-principle by the Prime Minister,” Girish Sahni, Director-General, CSIR. “We will be using a portion of our own funds for this,” he added.
  • The 75-year-old organization is also grappling with a crisis of trying to generate more revenues from its portfolio of inventions as well encourage its staff scientists to become entrepreneurs and start companies of their own.
  • Mr. Sahni added that the availability of money for CSIR scientists to spin off companies was rarely a problem but issues on how CSIR ought to be fairly compensated and the optimal use of its resources, such as students, lab facilities, were still a work in progress.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), established in 1942, is an autonomous body and the largest research and development (R&D) organisation in India.
  • It runs 37 laboratories and 39 field stations or extension centres spread across the nation, with a collective staff of over 17000. 
  • Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology it operates as an autonomous body registered under the Registration of Societies Act of 1860.
  • The research and development activities of CSIR includes aerospace engineering, Structural engineering, ocean sciences, Life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environment.


GS II : DEFENCE

Parrikar wants private players to tap DRDO’s knowledge base

  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said there was a lot of knowledge and infrastructure base with the DRDO and it needed to be tapped by the medium and small-scale firms and private industries.
  • This, in turn, would lead towards the establishment of a self-reliant defence industrial complex.
  • Industries had been significantly contributing to the realisation of various defence products with the know-how provided by the DRDO and some even graduated as lead integrators, he pointed out.
  • The partnership between DRDO and industries was transforming the country into a global defence manufacturing hub and the synergy had provided thrust for exporting defence products.
  • “We are taking initiatives in this direction and I am sure that our state-of-the-art missiles and weapon systems will garner the much needed interest in the global markets and generate foreign exchange,” Mr. Parrikar said.
  • He congratulated DRDO scientists for recent successful missions like the ‘Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon, Long Range Ballistic Missiles Agni V & Agni IV, Guided Pinaka and Astra’.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is an agency of the Republic of India, charged with the military's research and development, headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • It was formed in 1958 by the merger of the Technical Development Establishment and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organisation.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
  • With a network of 52 laboratories, which are engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems,
  • DRDO is India's largest and most diverse research organisation.


GS III :  ENVIRONMENT - BIODIVERSITY

Findings on pest menace under a cloud

  • The Central Island Agricultural Research Institute (CIARI), Port Blair, one of the premier institutions under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), is in the eye of a storm over allegations of research misconduct and fabrication of scientific data on the occurrence of pollu beetle, a pest infesting black pepper.
  • The charges surfaced in a scientific paper by K.D. Prathapan of the Department of Agricultural Entomology, Kerala Agricultural University, challenging CIARI’s claim in 2011 to have identified the pollu beetle (Longitarsus nigripennis) as a major pest of black pepper on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Countering the finding, Dr. Prathapan, who is credited with the taxonomic identification of the pollu beetle as Lanka ramakrishnai, argued that three field surveys and review of literature had failed to provide evidence of the occurrence of the pest on the islands.
  • In his paper published in the same journal, he maintained that the CIARI had failed to produce taxonomic or photographic evidence of the beetle or any symptom of infestation on berries or leaves of pepper.
  • Repeated requests for permission to examine the specimens or visit the research farm of the institute to confirm the presence of the pest and its damage were reportedly turned down by the institute citing issues of copyright and intellectual property rights, he said.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare , Government of India.
  • Formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, it was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in pursuance of the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
  • The Council is the apex body for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.


GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC slams States’ stance on PILs

  • The Supreme Court slammed several States for their casual attitude towards crucial public interest matters.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud admonished the States for failing to file responses and status reports in court despite several opportunities.
  • States were caught napping in a row of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions which came up for hearing, right from installation of speed governors in public transport vehicles to curb road accidents to industrial pollution to even midday meals in schools.
  • The PIL plea on industrial pollution filed by the Gujarat-based NGO, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, was filed five years ago in 2012. The Bench found that several States had not bothered to file responses.
  • In the speed governors’ case, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Tripura, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had not filed their replies.
  • Noting that months have passed without any response from Transport Departments of various States, the Bench clarified that Transport Secretaries of the States, who were served notices but did not file response, would appear in person.

GS III :  ECONOMY - DATA

Demonetisation has hit India’s growth: IMF

  • The NDA government’s demonetization move could dampen India’s growth by one percentage point in the current fiscal year and 0.4 percentage point the next year, compared with its earlier projections, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.
  • The IMF now expects India to record a growth of 6.6% for the current year, and 7.2% next year. Earlier, the IMF had projected 7.6% growth for this year and the next.
  • For China, the growth forecast for 2017 was revised upwards, to 6.5%, 0.3 percentage point above the October forecast. In 2018, China’s growth rate is projected to be 6% against India’s 7.7%.
  • According to the IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) update, there is marginal upward shift in prospects for the U.S. and China until 2018, but India, Brazil, and Mexico are among the large economies that have had their projections revised downwards.
  • “In India, the growth forecast for the current (2016–17) and the next fiscal year were trimmed by one percentage point and 0.4 percentage point, respectively, primarily due to the temporary negative consumption shock induced by cash shortages and payment disruptions associated with the recent currency note withdrawal and exchange initiative,” the fund said.
  • “Global growth for 2016 is now estimated at 3.1%, in line with the October 2016 forecast,” according to the report.
  • “Markets have noted that the White House and Congress are in the hands of the same party for the first time in six years, and that change points to lower tax rates and possibly higher infrastructure and defense spending,” the fund said.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) 

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
  • Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference primarily by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system.
  • It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises.


 

 

GS II: SOCIAL-HEALTH

‘Sanitising of cattle-sheds key to prevent malaria’

  • Mosquitoes transmitting malaria are often found in cattle-sheds in India and these insects need to be targetted to further WHO’s goal of eliminating the disease globally by 2030, researchers say.
  • Cattle-sheds are built next to and sometimes even share a wall with human dwellings, but control efforts are restricted to houses only.
  • “We found that in an area of India that has a high burden of malaria, most of the mosquitoes that are known to transmit malaria rest in cattle-sheds and feed on both cows and humans,” said Matthew Thomas, professor at Pennsylvania State University in the U.S.
  • A team collected a total of 1,774 Anopheles culicifacies and 169 Anopheles fluviatilis mosquitoes specimens — major vectors of malaria on the Indian subcontinent — from six villages in Odisha — which has the highest number of malaria cases in India.
  • The researchers built a computer model that simulated the life of an adult mosquito and showed that conventional control tools such as insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor insecticide sprays are less effective when mosquitoes exhibit ‘zoophilic’ behaviours — having an attraction to nonhuman animals.
  • The model revealed that directing even modest amounts of effort to specifically increase cattle-based mosquito mortality associated with zoophilic behaviour can shift the balance towards elimination,” the researchers said in the study published in Scientific Reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Back to Top