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Current Events 19 January 2017

 

NEWS

19 JANUARY 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: BILATERAL - INDIA- SRI LANKA

‘Sri Lanka in talks to offer port to India’

2.

GS II:  BILATERAL - INDIA- CHINA

Respect sovereignty, India tells China

3.

GS III: S&T - HEALTH

India’s first clinical trial to reduce hair loss in cancer patients

4.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

‘Speedily decide TB patient’s plea’

5.

GS II: POLITY-  INTER-STATE WATERS

Court decrees can’t be flouted, warns SC

6.

GS II: GOVERNANCE

‘Revise visa format to include crime record’

7.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Frauds decrease but security still an issue

8.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Cabinet boosts corpus for small enterprises

9.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Cabinet nod for listing of five insurance companies

10.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Cap set on sops for electronics

11.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Regional connectivity plan nets proposals to revive 65 airports

12.

GS III :  S&T - IT

Prototype of super, super computer in 2017

13.

GS III :   ENVIRONMENT

Mumbai set to turn hotter by 2100, warns global study

GS II: BILATERAL - INDIA- SRI LANKA

‘Sri Lanka in talks to offer port to India’

  • Speaking on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue, Sri Lankan Minister of Regional Development Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said the country was in talks to offer the port of Trincomalee to India.
  • Trincomalee has been on the table for sometime as Sri Lanka wants to maintain a neutral stand and provide equal access to its ports to both China and India.
  • Sri Lanka’s experience with the Chinese, who carried out major infrastructural work at the Hambantota port in southern coast of the island nation, has put a heavy burden on the country, said Mr Fonseka.
  • The problems and corruption in the project prompted us to review our policy on infrastructural development.
  • We have currently given the port to a private entity so that some of the more immediate issues are resolved. This arrangement will also address India’s security concerns,” said Mr. Fonseka, indicating that Sri Lanka is willing to address India’s concerns on the visit of Chinese nuclear submarines to Sri Lanka.

GS II: BILATERAL - INDIA- CHINA

Respect sovereignty, India tells China

  • Asserting its territorial sovereignty, India said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through its territory.
  • Addressing the Raisina Dialogue, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said, “China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. We expect they will respect other people’s sovereignty. CPEC passes through a territory that we see as ours (PoK). Surely people will understand India’s reaction. There needs to be some reflection and I am sorry to say that we have not seen signs of that.”

 

GS III: S&T-HEALTH

India’s first clinical trial to reduce hair loss in cancer patients

  • The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) has commenced the first ever clinical trial in India to address the problem of hair loss in cancer patients during chemotherapy.
  • Loss of hair adds to the trauma of the disease and many patients, especially women, sufer from lack of self-esteem and confidence due to sudden baldness.
  • At present, four breast cancer patients have been placed on the trial.
  • A scalp cooling machine attached with two scalp coolers, or specialised inner silicon caps containing coolants, has been imported from the UK free of cost.
  • The technique is widely used in the U.K. Since chemotherapy medication is given intravenously and circulated through blood, the scalp gets less blood and thus less medication as well.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

Speedily decide TB patient’s plea’

  • The Delhi High Court asked the Drug Controller to expeditiously decide the application on behalf of a 18- year-old girl, suffering from a drug resistant form of TB, to import a new drug which is one of the two optional medications to treat her disease.
  • Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued the direction to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) after the lawyer for the patient’s father said an application has been moved through the doctor to import the drug — Delamanid — under a compassionate access programme.
  • Delamanid, produced by Otsuka, is neither available in Indian markets, nor approved by DCGI.
  • The court also asked the Centre whether the TB medical centre in Mumbai can administer Bedaquiline, another new drug made by Johnson and Johnson, to the patient, without any new tests, as she has been moved there.

GS II: GOVERNANCE - PUBLIC POLICY

‘Revise visa format to include crime record’

 

  • The Indian visa format should be revised to prevent foreign nationals with a record of child abuse from entering India, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has said.
  • At present, foreign nationals do not have to declare their record of criminal prosecution. The comments followed reports of arrest of a foreigner in Hyderabad, who was uploading child sexual abuse material online.

 

GS II: POLITY - INTER-STATE WATERS

Court decrees can’t be flouted, warns SC

 

  • Decrees passed in the Sutlej- Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute between Punjab and Haryana cannot be flouted, the Supreme Court warned, directing both the States to strictly implement its orders.
  • The Bench, which asked the Centre and Punjab to file their replies to Haryana’s plea seeking compliance of court’s order, said the interim order of status quo will continue.
  • Haryana has not challenged the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, and therefore it has not been set aside till now.
  • The answers to Presidential reference fell under the advisory jurisdiction and hence the court has not set aside the Act.
  • TSenior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Punjab, said the Centre should intervene among the States involved in the dispute and sort out the issue.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Frauds decrease but security still an issue

  • While incidents of fraud declined in the country in 2016, concerns over security still act as deterrent for global companies to operate in India, said a survey conducted by Kroll.
  • According to the Kroll Annual Global Fraud and Risk Report, 68% of respondents with operations in India experienced at least one fraud incident in 2016, falling from 80% in 2015.
  • “Despite the drop, 19% of surveyed senior executives worldwide were dissuaded from operating in India due to existing concerns over fraud, second only to China,” the report said.
  • Compared with last year, a greater percentage of respondents in India reported fraud across the four categories surveyed – corruption and bribery (27%), management conflict of interest (27%), market collusion (27%) and internal fraud (25%).
  • The survey results revealed the most common perpetrators of fraud and security incidents in India in 2016 were current and former employees.

 

GS III :  ECONOMY

Cabinet boosts corpus for small enterprises

 

  • The Union Cabinet gave ex-post facto approval for a larger package supporting small and medium enterprises — a promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his New Year’s eve address to the nation.
  • The corpus of Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) will increase from Rs. 2,500 crore to Rs. 7,500 crore.
  • The Centre has increased the coverage of loans covered under the credit guarantee scheme to Rs.2 crore from Rs..1 crore.

 

GS III :  ECONOMY

Cabinet nod for listing of five insurance companies

  • In a move that could bring significant resources to the exchequer, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved, in principle, the listing of five public sector general insurance companies on the stock markets, with a plan to divest 25% of the Centre’s stake in each of them over time.
  • The companies whose stake would be offloaded, as per stock market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India’s listing norms, are The New India Assurance Company, United India Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company, National Insurance Company, and General Insurance Corporation of India.
  • “The Cabinet took a decision to approve the listing of public sector general insurance companies on stock exchanges through a fresh issue of equity or an offer for sale or a combination thereof,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, while announcing the Union Cabinet’s decisions. “Since this is a major decision and was announced as a policy in the Union Budget, it has now been approved after consideration,” he said.
  • The official statement said listing will also give the insurers access to more funds from the capital market to expand their businesses “instead of being dependent on the Government for capital infusion.”
  • The government had set itself a target of Rs.56,500 crore to be earned through disinvestments in this financial year, out of which it has so far earned Rs.21,432.38 crore, according to data from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Cap set on sops for electronics

  • The Union Cabinet cleared changes to the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) for electronics manufacturing.
  • In August 2015, the scheme which was notified in 2012, was extended till July 27, 2020.
  • The subsidy to electronic manufacturing companies will be provided for investments made within five years of the project getting approved against a subsidy time frame of 10 years earlier.
  • Under the scheme, applications will be received up to December 31, 2018, or till such time that an incentive commitment of Rs.10,000 crore is reached, whichever is earlier, an official statement said.
  • In respect of mega projects, envisaging investments above Rs.6,850 crore (about $1 billion), will be cleared by a high-powered committee headed by the Cabinet secretary and comprising CEO, NITI Aayog, expenditure secretary and MeitY secretary.
  • The MSIPS, aimed at boosting domestic electronic product manufacturing, was notified in 2012 for both new and expansion projects.
  • The scheme provides for capital subsidy of 20-25%, besides reimbursement of countervailing duty/excise for capital equipment for non-SEZ units and also reimbursement of central taxes and duties for some of the projects with high capital investments.
  • The Centre has so far received 243 applications under the scheme, out of which 75 applications have been approved involving investment proposals of Rs. 17,997 crore.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Regional connectivity plan nets proposals to revive 65 airports

  • Dormant airports such as Hosur, Bikaner, Bidar, Jalandhar, Jalgaon or Jaisalmer may soon start receiving flights as airlines have shown interest in flying out of these airports under the Centre’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme.
  • Passengers may soon be able to fly out of these airports by paying ?. 2,500 for an hour’s flight.
  • The Airports Authority of India, which is implementing the regional connectivity scheme, has received 45 proposals from 11 bidders covering more than 200 routes as the deadline for submitting the proposals ended on 16th January 2017, the civil aviation ministry said.
  • The operators have submitted plans covering 65 airports, out of which 52 are unserved airports which haven’t seen a single flight for more than a year and the remaining 13 are underserved airports where less than seven commercial flight departures take place in a week.
  • Airlines have shown interest in flying out of underserved airports including Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Jorhat in Assam, Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, Diu, Puducherry, Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Pant Nagar in Uttarakhand, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Durgapur in West Bengal.
  • Some of the unserved airports, proposed to be revived for regional flights, include Bilaspur and Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Jeypore and Jharsuguda in Odisha, Jalandhar in Punjab, Kandla in Gujarat, Kolhapur and Latur in Maharashtra.
  • As per the scheme, the Centre will subsidise the losses incurred by airlines flying out of dormant airports, to allow airlines to charge ?.2,500 for an hour’s flight to passengers.
  • About 80% of the subsidy will be collected by charging a levy of up to ?.8,500 on each departing flight of domestic airlines and the rest 20% will come from the respective state governments.
  • The Centre has now invited counter-bids against these initial proposals and will accept them till February 1.
  • The routes or networks would be awarded to bidders who quote the lowest requirement of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) against such routes, the ministry said in an official statement.

 

GS III :  S&T -  IT

Prototype of super, super computer in 2017

  • China plans to develop a prototype exascale computer by the end of the year, state media has said, as it seeks to win a global race to be the first to build a machine capable of a billion, billion calculations per second.
  • If successful, the achievement would cement its place as a leading power in the world of supercomputing.
  • The Asian giant built the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Sunway Taihu- Light machine, in June 2016, which was twice as fast as the previous number one.
  • It used only locally made microchips, making it the first time a country has taken the top spot without using U.S. technology.
  • Exascale computers are even more powerful, and can execute at least one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second.
  • Though a prototype was in the pipeline, a complete version of such a machine would take a few more years to complete, and can only be expected in 2020, and will be 200 times more powerful than the country’s first petaflop computer Tianhe-1, recognized as the world’s fastest in 2010.
  • The exascale computer could have applications in big data and cloud computing work, and its prototype would lead the world in data transmission efficiency as well as calculation speed.
  • As of June 2016, China for the first time had more top ranked supercomputers than the U.S., with 167 compared to 165.
  • Of the top 10 fastest computers, two are in China and five in the US as of November, the ranking said. Others are in Japan and Switzerland.
  • Despite some gains the country’s scientific output still lags behind, and its universities fare poorly in global rankings.

 

 

GS III :   ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

Mumbai set to turn hotter by 2100, warns global study

  • Mumbai is set to become hotter over this century, losing more than half of its mild weather days, warns a new study that found that the average number of such days will significantly decrease worldwide.
  • Currently, Mumbai enjoys about 82 mild weather days per year. According to researchers, by 2035, the city will lose 16 mild days, and, by 2100, the number will be reduced by 44.
  • Scientists defined mild” weather as temperatures between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius, with less than a half inch of rain and low humidity.
  • The effects of climate change on hurricanes, droughts, floods, blizzards and other severe weather have been extensively studied, but mild weather has so far been overlooked.
  • Scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Princeton University produced the first global analysis of how climate change may affect the frequency and location of mild weather days that are perfect for an outdoor wedding, fishing, boating, hiking or a picnic.
  • The study projects that globally the number of mild days will decrease by 10 or 13 per cent by the end of the century because of climate warming from the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere produced by human activity.
  • The current global average of 74 mild days a year will drop by four days by 2035 and 10 days by 2081 to 2100.
  • However, this global average decrease masks more dramatic decreases in store for some areas and increases in mild days in other regions.
  • Scientists say the largest decreases in mild weather will be in tropical regions due to rising heat and humidity. The worst hit areas are expected to be in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Travel, tourism, construction, transportation, agriculture, and outdoor recreation all benefit from factoring weather patterns into their plans.

 


 

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