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

Current Events 21 January 2017

 

NEWS

21 JANUARY 2017

Sr no

Topic

News

1.

GS II : POLITY  LEGILATURE

Ordinance to clear path for holding jallikattu

2.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

SC agrees to Centre’s plea to delay Jallikattu verdict

3.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

AG seeks recall of verdict backing Lodha report

4.

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

Why public land for places of worship, asks SC

5.

GS III: DEFENCE

Rolls Royce hired defence brokers

6.

GS II : POLITY  LEGILATURE

RBI works to cut online transaction costs

7.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

CBI chief appointment: SC rejects plea

8.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT  POLLUTION

Air pollution action plan comes into force

9.

GS II : POLITY  ACT

‘Not all information can be disclosed under RTI Act’

10.

GS III :  DEFENCE

India steps up submarine induction as Chinese presence grows in region

11.

GS III :   ECONOMY

Draft steel policy to enable ?. 10 lakh crore investments

12.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Centre shifts disinvestment advice to new department

13.

GS III :  ECONOMY

China’s GDP growth beats expectations

14.

GS III : S&T SPACE

Astronomer studies ‘habitable’ exoplanet

15.

GS III : S&T  SPACE

Scientists simulate Mars mission


GS II : POLITY  LEGILATURE

Ordinance to clear path for holding jallikattu

  •  The Centre cleared the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to promulgate an ordinance to hold jallikattu.
  • The State government had proposed to issue an ordinance in a day or two to allow jallikattu, a bull taming sport.
  • Since the subject falls in the Concurrent list of the Constitution, it was mandatory to get a nod from the Centre, a senior Home Ministry official said.
  • The Home Ministry sent the draft submitted by the State to the Environment and Law Ministries for their response. The Environment Ministry sent its reply, and the Home Ministry gave its clearance.
  • “The ordinance has been cleared by the Home Ministry and the State government can promulgate it by introducing it either as a Bill in the Assembly or the State Cabinet can clear it.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

SC agrees to Centre’s plea to delay Jallikattu verdict

  • Mr. Rohatgi said, people of Tamil Nadu are “passionate” about Jallikattu and “passions are running high”.
  • Mr. Rohatgi sought status quo from the court so that the situation may not change for the worse and light another fuse in an already volatile situation.
  • Hearing the AG’s brief submission, the bench said “Okay”.
  • Former Additional Solicitor General and senior advocate Indira Jaising said the request made by the government to the SC to defer its judgement, no matter what the reason was, is “highly improper”.
  • We can make an urgent mention in court to fast track the delivery of the judgement. But you cannot go to court and ask it to delay the judgment. This is unprecedented,” Ms. Jaising said.
  • Ms. Jaising further asked whether any prior notice was issued about the mentioning for deferment of the judgment to the opposite parties in the litigation, mostly comprising animal rights activists and organisations. “Why were they not heard before the judgment was delayed? This is nothing but an unofficial stay of the judgment,” she said.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

AG seeks recall of verdict backing Lodha report

  • A new Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra came in for a surprise when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the first time in the BCCI Lodha Committee spat, seeking a complete recall of the Supreme Court’s July 18 judgment upholding the Lodha reforms.
  • Mr. Rohatgi said he represented Railways, the armed forces and the association of Indian universities.
  • All three of his clients were full members of the BCCI and ‘great contributors’ to Indian cricket and cricketers, until the Supreme Court upheld the Lodha reforms in its July 18, 2016 verdict which changed the membership pattern on geographical basis of ‘One State One Vote.’
  • The July 18 judgment downgraded the three from full members to ‘associated members’ and stripped them of their voting power.
  • Mr. Rohatgi said the BCCI was a private body, and what the Lodha Committee had done was to intervene in the “internal affairs of a private society.”
  • “The BCCI remains a private society even though its functions resemble that of a national character. 
  • Where is your jurisdiction? Take the case of Delhi District Cricket Association. It is a ‘company’ under Section 25 of the Companies Act. How can you decide the eligibility of the president, secretary and other office bearers of a private company... these aspects have to be debated.
  • “I am asking for a recall of your orders. The Lodha Committee was appointed by this court to punish those found guilty in the IPL match fixing. Then you told them to reform cricket... since when has the court become a reformist body?” Mr. Rohatgi asked the Bench, which also comprised Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud.
  • Mr. Rohatgi questioned the logic behind disqualification of ministers and government servants from becoming office bearers of the BCCI.

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

Why public land for places of worship, asks SC

  • Is it justified for a secular government to part with acres of public land for construction of religious places of worship?
  • This is the question Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar agreed to address when he directed the Supreme Court Registry to place all pending cases in the court regarding grant of public lands for the construction of religious places of worship, be it temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, synagogues, etc.
  • “We do not want to hear this issue piecemeal, let all the petitions pending in the court be tagged together and we will hear them all. Like that, everybody will be satisfied and that will be the better way,” Chief Justice Khehar said.
  • The Supreme Court Registry has time till March 20 to identify all such cases, group them together and present them for hearing before the Chief Justice’s Bench.
  • The direction came on a petition filed by the Federation of Chennai Suburban (South) Welfare Association against the Muslim Cultural Association in 2008.
  • The case refers to a government order of September 24, 1986, provisionally transferring a government pond in favour of the Muslim Association for constructing a mosque.
  • The Federation contended that the government order violated the basic feature of the Constitution, namely — secularism.
  • The Federation, represented by senior advocate R. Basant and advocate G. Balaji, invoked the 1994 S.R. Bommai case in which the Supreme Court had held that the “Constitution prevents the State from either identifying itself with or favouring any particular religion or religious sect or denomination”.

GS III: DEFENCE

Rolls Royce hired defence brokers

  • Engineering giant Rolls Royce engaged middlemen for swinging defence contracts in India between 2005 and 2009 violating Indian laws, according to the judgment of a British high court.
  • The company also paid bribes to an Income Tax official to remove a list of its middlemen recovered during a raid on its India office.
  • At least two major defence deals — Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk aircraft for the Indian Air Force and Pegasus engines for the Navy’s Sea Harrier aircraft — involved illegal kickbacks, according to the judgment.
  • These are among the details contained in the filings in a London court where Rolls Royce agreed to pay a fine of $809 million for its corrupt practices in India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, Russia, Nigeria and Malaysia.

GS II : POLITY  LEGILATURE

RBI works to cut online transaction costs

  • RBI officials told the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts that the central bank was working on ways to cut costs of online transactions.
  • RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Deputy Governor R. Gandhi and other senior officials of the bank appeared before the committee.
  • Dr. Patel said demonetization would have a positive impact on the economy in the long run and the cash flow situation was improving fast.

GS II: POLITY  JUDICIARY

CBI chief appointment: SC rejects plea

  • The Supreme Court refused to direct the Centre to place before it the minutes of the meeting of a high power committee, comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition, which has selected Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma as CBI Director.
  • “It [direction to call for minutes of the meeting] is not within the ambit of this writ petition. As far as this writ petition is concerned, it is over now,” a Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and A.M. Khanwilkar said.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT  POLLUTION

Air pollution action plan comes into force

  • Delhi could see strict air pollution control measures, including a hike in parking charges and differential fares to encourage use of public transport in off peak hours, as the graded response action plan notified by the Centre rolled out on 20th January, 2017.
  • The action plan, which was notified by the Union Environment and Forest Ministry on January 12 and submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board to the Supreme Court in November 2016, will cover the entire National Capital Region – the first such initiative.
  • The agency meant to monitor the implementation of the plan, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), held the first meeting since the plan was notified.

 

GS II : POLITY  ACT

‘Not all information can be disclosed under RTI Act’

  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said discretion should be used in exercising the provisions of the Right to Information Act, as certain information ought to remain confidential.
  • Not all Cabinet decisions, for instance, can be disclosed to the public before their implementation.
  • If revealed beforehand, some measures might become ineffective, Mr. Vijayan said.
  • He stressed the need to identify persons who misused legislation for their interests.
  • An efficient system for relaying information to the public was important to achieve the goal of establishing a transparent and corruption free society, he said.
  • Through the RTI, citizens could complement the government’s efforts to clean up the administration.
  • Therefore, measures to strengthen the reach of the Act among the public were being considered, Mr. Vijayan said.
  • These included introducing details about the Act in the school curriculum and creating software that links other departments with the Information Commission.

 

 

 

GS III :  DEFENCE

India steps up submarine induction as Chinese presence grows in region

  • The Indian Navy expects to induct two Scorpene diesel electric submarines into service in 2017 and launch a third submarine into water even as officials acknowledged the growing Chinese maritime presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • The first of the Scorpenes, Kalvari, is expected to finish sea trials by May 2017 and is on track to be inducted before the monsoon.
  • The second submarine Khanderi was launched into sea in Mumbai in Jan 2017.
  • The commissioning of the Khanderi would be dependent on the monsoon as trials cannot be conducted during the three to five month period.
  • The third Scorpene submarine ‘Vela’ will be launched into water in 2017 after the monsoons.
  • India has contracted six Scorpene submarines from DCNS of France to be built locally with technology transfer. The Navy intends to induct all six by 2020.
  • Separately officials said the P 8I long range maritime patrol aircraft, procured from the U.S., has been a major force multiplier and the Navy has been keeping track of Chinese “sub surface movement”, which has increased in the name of antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
  • “At least one Chinese submarine has been continuously deployed in the Indian Ocean while others are in movement to replace it,” defence sources said.
  • However sources said there has been no confrontation of any sort. “They just pass through and it is meant as a statement of their capability and reach. Each one is accessing the other’s strengths as of now,” sources added. 

GS III :   ECONOMY

Draft steel policy to enable ?. 10 lakh crore investments

  • The Steel Ministry has proposed setting up greenfield steel plants along India’s coastline to tap cheap imported raw materials such as coking coal and export the output in a more cost effective manner, as part of the new draft National Steel Policy of 2017.
  • The policy, which envisages to more than double India’s domestic steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030 31, anticipates a requirement of ?10 lakh crore of fresh investments to meet that goal and expects at least 11 lakh new jobs being created in the process.
  • The steel sector presently employs about 25 lakh people and has a capacity of little over 120 million tonnes.
  • However, some elements of the policy, on which comments have been sought till January 23, are still work in progress, such as its vision statement, for instance.
  • The draft policy lays out two alternatives of its vision — “to create a globally competitive steel industry that promotes inter sectoral growth” or “to create a self sufficient steel industry that is technologically advanced, globally competitive and promotes inclusive growth.”
  • While it focuses on impediments like high input costs, availability of raw materials, import dependency and financial stress plaguing the sector, projections made under the policy for a couple of factors are all still under discussion, such as the demand and production of sponge iron.
  • To cut down reliance on expensive imports of coking coal, the policy has mooted gas based steel plants and technologies such as electric furnaces to bring down the use of coking coal in blast furnaces.
  • Public sector firms in the steel sector should aim for economies of scale and will be encouraged to divest their non core assets through mergers and restructuring, according to the policy.
  • “Establishment of steel plants along the coast under the aegis of Sagarmala project will be undertaken.
  • Such plants would be based on the idea of importing scarce raw materials and exporting steel products,” the policy stated, adding that a cluster based approach will be pursued, especially for micro, small and medium enterprises to ensure optimum land use, easy availability of raw materials and economies of scale.

GS III :  ECONOMY

Centre shifts disinvestment advice to new department

  • In keeping with its ongoing efforts to streamline the disinvestment process, the government transferred the role of advising the government on how to utilize the proceeds from disinvestment from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) to the Department of Economic Affairs.
  • This comes days after the Union Cabinet approved an alternative mechanism to decide the modalities to do with stake sales in public sector undertakings (PSUs), so as to speed up the process.
  • According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Secretariat changing the Allocation of Business rules, the Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry will now be in charge of “financial policy in regard to the utilisation of the proceeds of disinvestment channelized into the National Investment Fund.”
  • This is not an unusual decision, as the role has not been shifted to another Ministry altogether. But as it is, it seems to be streamlining the process because the Department of Economic Affairs is in charge of budget making, which includes deciding what to do with the proceeds from disinvestment.
  • During his Budget speech 2016 17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced renaming the previously known Department of Investment as DIPAM.
  • The Centre had created a National Investment Fund in 2005 in which the proceeds from the disinvestment of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) were to be channelised.
  • “The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to Alternative Mechanism, who would decide on the quantum of disinvestment in a particular Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSE) on a case by case basis subject to Government retaining 51 percent equity and management control,” according to a statement issued after the decision was taken.

GS III :  ECONOMY

China’s GDP growth beats expectations

  • China’s economy grew a faster than expected 6.8% in the fourth quarter, boosted by higher government spending and record bank lending, giving it a tailwind heading into what is expected to be a turbulent year.
  • But Beijing’s decision to prioritize its official growth target could exact a high price, as policymakers grapple with financial risks created by an explosive growth in debt.
  • China’s debt to GDP ratio rose to 277% at the end of 2016 from 254% the previous year, with an increasing share of new credit being used to pay debt servicing costs, UBS analysts said in a note.
  • China’s central bank could slightly tighten credit conditions this year to encourage debt laden companies to deleverage, but it’s unlikely to rush to raise interest rates despite an expected pick up in inflation, policy insiders said.
  • The fourth quarter was the first time in two years that the world’s second largest economy has shown an uptick in economic growth, but this year it faces further pressure to cool its housing market, the impact of government efforts at structural reforms, and a potentially testy relationship with a new U.S. administration.
  • Rapid monetary expansion and expectations of slower economic growth at home, along with a rising U.S. dollar, also hit the yuan.
  • The key risk to the Chinese economy in 2017 and 2018 is the possibility that faster than expected U.S. interest rate increases could intensify Chinese capital outflows and increase stresses on China’s financial system,” said Bill Adams, senior economist at U.S. based PNC Financial Services Group.
  • China’s sluggish exports could also come under fresh pressure if U.S. President elect Donald Trump follows through on pledges to impose tough protectionist measures.

GS III : S&T SPACE

Astronomer studies ‘habitable’ exoplanet

  • In an attempt to search for life outside Earth, an astronomer Stephen Kane from San Francisco State University, has studied an exoplanet called Wolf 1061c and found that the celestial body could be habitable.
  • Astronomer focused on finding “habitable zones” where water could exist in a liquid state on a planet’s surface.
  • Examining a habitable zone on a planetary system 14 light years away, Mr. Kane found that unlike Earth, which experiences climatic changes such as an ice age because of slow variations in its orbit around the sun, Wolf 1061c’s orbit changes at a faster rate, which may mean its climate could be quite chaotic.

 GS III : S&T  SPACE

Scientists simulate Mars mission

  • Six scientists have entered a dome perched atop a remote volcano in Hawaii where they will spend the next eight months in isolation to simulate life for astronauts travelling to Mars, the University of Hawaii has said.
  • The study is designed to help NASA understand human behaviour and performance during long space missions as the U.S. space agency explores plans for a manned mission to the red planet.
  • The crew will perform geological fieldwork and basic daily tasks in the 1,200 sq.ft. dome, located in an abandoned quarry 8,200 feet above sea level on the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.
  • There is little vegetation and the scientists will have no contact with the outside world, said the university, which operates the dome.
  • Communications with a mission control team will be time delayed to match the 20 minute travel time of radio waves passing between the Earth and the Mars.
  •  “Daily routines include food preparation from only shelf stable ingredients, exercise, research and fieldwork aligned with NASA’s planetary exploration expectations,” the university said.
  • The NASA funded mission, known as the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (Hi SEAS), is the fifth of its kind intended to create guidelines for journeys to Mars, 56 million km from Earth.

 

Back to Top