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Current Events 25 January 2017

 

NEWS

25 JANUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II : POLITY JUDICIARY

Centre seeks to withdraw its jallikattu notification

2.

GS II :  POLITY JUDICIARY

SC rejects plea to put of BCCI panel appointment

3.

GS II : POLITICAL PARTIES

‘69% of political funds from unknown sources

4.

GS II : PREGULATION  NHRC

NHRC issues notice to T.N.

5.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

India to ratify amended version of Kyoto Protocol

6.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change plan to get new missions

7.

GS III : DEFENCE

Improved Pinaka rockets test-fired

8.

GS III : DEFENCE

In a rare display, Tejas to thunder over Rajpath

9.

GS II : BILATERAL - INDIA -UKRAINE

Ukraine’s Deputy PM to join R-Day celebrations

10.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL -PAKISTAN

Pakistan tests 2,200-km range surface-to-surface missile

11.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL - UK

U.K. govt. must get Parliament nod for Brexit: Supreme Court

12.

GS III : ECONOMY

Can print 16 billion notes a year: RBI press

13.

GS III : ECONOMY

Tax guidelines to target shell companies notified

14.

GS III : ECONOMY

Charge on digital payments above ?. 50,000 mooted

15.

GS II : SOCIAL SCHEMES

Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana wins Cabinet nod


GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

Centre seeks to withdraw its jallikattu notification

  • The Centre informed the Supreme Court that it will move an application withdrawing the January 7, 2016 central notification allowing jallikattu in the wake of the Bill passed unanimously by the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
  • The submission came a day after the Assembly passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Bill, 2017, which is now before the President to see if there is any repugnancy with the Central Act.
  • The passing of the Bill and the Centre’s move seeking withdrawal of the January 7 notification would end up rendering a judgment on the constitutionality of the notification infructuous.
  • The January 7 notification was issued by the Centre to circumvent a 2014 Supreme Court ban, which termed the event conducted during the Pongal festival as an ‘inherent act of cruelty’ against bulls.
  • The Supreme Court had reserved a batch of petitions filed by animal lovers and organisations, challenging the notification after prolonged hearings on its legal validity.

SC asked to delay judgement:

  • On January 20, the Centre had approached the Supreme Court to delay the pronouncement of its judgment on the notification by a week.
  • Mr. Rohatgi had then submitted that passions were running high in Tamil Nadu, and some leeway should be given by the court so that the Centre and the State government could engage in talks to end massive protests.
  • The court had acquiesced.

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC rejects plea to put off BCCI panel appointment

  • Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asked a three-judge Bench, led by Justice Dipak Misra, to freeze the process for appointment of a Committee of Administrators to run the BCCI, by at least two weeks.
  • Mr. Rohatgi said the government was considering legislation or executive action to arm the various sports associations with ‘some autonomy’ against external interventions.
  • The court refused to keep in abeyance the process.
  • It, however, allowed the Centre and some State cricket associations to suggest names for the committee before January 30, the next date of hearing.
  • The court made it clear that it would not consider — in conformity with the Lodha panel recommendations — any person who is over 70 years old for the committee of administrators.

GS II : POLITY

‘69% of political funds from unknown sources

  • The total income of national and regional political parties between 2004-05 and 2014-15 stood at Rs. 11,367 crore, with the highest of Rs. 3,982 crore being the Congress’s share.
  • However, 69% of the income of these parties was from unknown sources, according to an analysis done by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
  • The income of national parties from unknown sources increased by 313%; for regional parties, it went up by 652%
  • The BSP is the only party which has got 100% of its income through donations from unknown sources.
  • The BSP has not reported any donation above ?. 20,000 in the past 11 years.
  • According to the ADR, the income-tax returns of 42 of the 51 regional parties analysed were unavailable for at least one financial year.

Recommendations:

  • Based on the findings, the ADR has recommended that full details of all donors be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI.
  • Some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the United States and Japan.
  • “In none of these countries it is possible for almost 75% of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present it is so in India,” said the report, adding any organisation that receives foreign funding should not be allowed to support or campaign for any candidate or political party.
  • The report mentioned that the Election Commission had recommended that tax exemption be awarded only to those political parties which contest and win seats in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections.
  • The EC suggested that details of all those who donate above ?.2,000 be made public.
  • Scrutiny of the political party’s financial documents should be conducted annually by a body approved by the EC and the Comptroller and Auditor General for greater transparency, the report said. 

GS II : REGULATION NHRC

NHRC issues notice to T.N.

  • Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Tamil Nadu authorities over the alleged police excesses on jallikattu protesters.
  • Protests broke out in Tamil Nadu demanding that the bull-taming sport, banned by the Supreme Court in 2014, be allowed to take place across the State.
  • While evicting protesters from the Marina Beach in Chennai, the police allegedly beat them up and arrested them.
  • According to media reports, the police “damaged private property in order to disperse a large number of people gathered at landmark places in Chennai,” the NHRC said in a statement.
  • Taking “a serious view of the unprovoked police excesses,” the NHRC issued notices to the Chief Secretary, the DGP and the Chennai Police Commissioner, asking for reports in two weeks.

GS III : ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

India to ratify amended version of Kyoto Protocol

  • In a token measure to put pressure on developed countries to deliver on climate change commitments, India will soon ratify an amended version of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to ratify the deal that is set to expire in 2020 and was shunned by several developed countries, most prominently the United States.
  • Until now, 75 countries have ratified the so-called Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol, which spans from 2012 to 2020, and falls far short of the 144 needed to bring it into force.

The Kyoto Protocol, 1997

  • The 1997 Kyoto Protocol came into effect in 2005 and obligated the rich and industrialised countries to reduce emissions by 5.2% of 1990 levels during the 2008-2012 period.
  • However, the refusal of the U.S., the second largest polluter, to be part of the Protocol and lack of commitments by Canada, Japan and other major developing countries meant that global emissions actually rose during this period.
  • Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

CDM and Carbon credits:

  • The Kyoto Protocol incentivised several firms in India to retrofit their polluting plants with newer technology in the hope of earning carbon credits.
  • Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with sustainable development priorities will attract some investments in India as well,” said an accompanying press note.
  • However after an initial spike, carbon credit prices — that could be traded in emission-trading markets like shares — have crashed to rock-bottom prices.

 

GS III : ENVIRONMENT CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change plan to get new missions

  • India’s eight-point plan to fight climate change will soon become a 11-point plan with new missions to address the impact of climate change on health, coastal zones and waste-to-energy on the anvil, senior officials in the Environment Ministry told.
  • Since 2012, the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change India has instituted a National Action Plan on Assessment, Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change, that has specified eight national missions.
  • These include :

1.     National Water Mission,

2.     Green India Mission,

3.     National Solar Mission,

4.     National Mission on Sustainable Habitat,

5.     National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency,

6.     National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem,

7.     National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture,

8.     National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

  • “The impact of climate change is far ranging and we have to consider its impact on health, wind and coastal zones,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, joint secretary in the Environment Ministry, told.

GS III : DEFENCE

Improved Pinaka rockets test-fired

  • Pinaka rockets, with a guidance system and an enhanced range, were successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha.
  • If its range was earlier 40 km, it is more than 70 km now.
  • The earlier Pinaka version, which was an unguided one, has now been transformed into a guided version, with a navigation, guidance and control kit developed by the Research Centre, Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad.
  • The RCI comes under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The guided version is Pinaka mark-II, which evolved from Pinaka mark-I.

GS III : DEFENCE

In a rare display, Tejas to thunder over Rajpath

  • In a rare Republic Day flypast for a single-engine aircraft, the indigenously developed light combat aircraft, Tejas, will set a record on January 26, 2016.
  • Three of these aircraft will take off from Bikaner and fly in victory formation over Rajpath.

The 1989 incident:

  • “After an incident in the 1980s, as a practice, single engine aircraft have generally been avoided in view of public safety,” a defence source said on January 24, 2016.
  • In October 1989, a Mirage-2000 fighter crashed while performing manoeuvres during the 57th anniversary celebration of the Indian Air Force at the Palam Air Force station.
  • Single-engine jets are believed to face a greater risk from bird hits, low-flying conditions and also in view of large public gatherings and presence of important dignitaries.  
  • In addition, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is displaying the Dhanush artillery gun, while the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is displaying the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System.
  • Dhanush is upgraded from the Swedish Bofors howitzers India procured in the mid-1980s.

GS II : BILATERAL - INDIA - UKRAINE

Ukraine’s Deputy PM to join R-Day celebrations

  • In a move that is expected to draw sharp attention from Moscow, India will hold bilateral discussions with a major Ukrainian leader on January 26.
  • Ambassador of Ukraine Dr Igor Polikha told that in a symbolic gesture, First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv will participate in the Republic day celebrations to mark the beginning of a new phase of India-Ukraine ties after a gap of several years caused by Ukraine’s war with Russia over Crimea.

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL PAKISTAN

Pakistan tests 2,200-km range surface-to-surface missile

  • Pakistan conducted the first flight test of long range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ababeel.
  • It claimed that the missile has a maximum range of 2,200 km and has the capability to carry nuclear warheads and engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.
  •  “The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology,” it claimed.
  • The development of Ababeel Weapon System is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment and that it will further reinforce deterrence.
  • On January 9, Pakistan had conducted a test-firing of submarine-launched cruise missile “Babur-3”, having a range of 450 Km.
  • Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of cruise missile Babur-2, which was successfully tested in December.
  • It incorporates state-of the- art technology, including under water controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching System.
  • It also features terrain hugging and sea-skimming flight capabilities that will enable it evade hostile radars.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL UK

U.K. govt. must get Parliament nod for Brexit: Supreme Court

  • The British government’s plans to commence the process of leaving the European Union speedily this spring was met with uncertainty as the Supreme Court ruled that the U.K. could not trigger Article 50 — the EU article that sets out how a country can leave the union — without a parliamentary vote.
  • It upheld the verdict of the High Court in 2016.
  • However, the court ruled that the government would not have to consult the devolved legislatures in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • The justices rejected government arguments that the 1972 European Communities Act allows for minsters to withdraw from EU treaties without going to Parliament.
  • Though the judgment was widely expected — and the government has insisted it will stick to its original timetable of triggering Article 50 by the end of March.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May had earlier conceded parliamentary involvement but only to give the final Brexit deal the go ahead, well after Article 50 had been triggered.  

The opposition:

  • While the Liberal Democrats (who hold 9 seats in Parliament) have said they will vote against the triggering of Article 50 unless a second referendum on the terms of Brexit is held, the Scottish National Party (with 54 MPs) has said it could bring as many as 50 amendments to the legislation.
  • While the developments regarding the devolved governments will have been welcomed in U.K. government circles, it also adds to longer term tensions: the Scottish government has said it could push for a second referendum in the wake of a hard Brexit, and the verdict is likely to breathe life into the independence movements.

GS III : ECONOMY

Can print 16 billion notes a year: RBI press

  • Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd. (BRBNMPL) – a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India which prints banknotes – has said it has the capacity to print 16 billion pieces of currency notes per annum, when operating in two shifts and when the presses are operating at full capacity.
  • In reply to an RTI query, BRBNMPL said the new ?. 500 notes are printed both by the government owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. and BRBNMPL while the ?. 2,000 denomination bank notes are printed only at BRBNMPL.
  • “The capacity of printing presses of government of India is not available,” the RBI subsidiary said.
  • Following the demonetisation of ?. 500 and ?.1,000 notes in November 2016, 22 billion pieces of currency notes were withdrawn from circulation – of which 15.7 billion were in ?.500 notes and 6.3 billion were of the ?.1,000 denomination.

GS III : ECONOMY

Tax guidelines to target shell companies notified

  • The Finance Ministry made public the final guidelines on the Place of Effective Management (POEM), underlining the government’s intent to target shell companies that may have been created to keep income out of India even when real management was taking place within the country.
  • The Place of Effective Management is defined in the Income Tax Act to mean “a place where key management and commercial decisions that are necessary for the conduct of the business of an entity as a whole are, in substance, made.”
  • According to the guidelines, a company will be deemed to be engaged in active business outside India if :

1.     the passive income is not more than 50% of its total income

2.     less than 50% of its total assets are situated in India,

3.     less than 50% of the total number of employees are situated in India or are resident in India, and

4.     the payroll expenses on such employees is less than 50% of the total payroll expenditure.

  • ‘Passive income’, for example is “income from the transactions where both the purchase and sale of goods is from/to its associated enterprises and income by way of royalty, dividend, capital gains, interest or rental income”.
  • This definition, however, will not apply in the case of a banking company or public financial institution.  

GS III : ECONOMY

Charge on digital payments above ?50,000 mooted

  • The Committee of CMs, formed to prepare the road map for rapid adoption of digital payment methods, on January 24, 2016, recommended levying a handling charge for cash payments above ?.50,000, while pitching for tax breaks to consumers and merchants using digital modes of payments.
  • In its interim report submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the panel also recommended abolition of the merchant discount rate (MDR).

GS II : SOCIAL SCHEMES

Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana wins Cabinet nod

  • The Cabinet day gave its post-facto approval for introduction of the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017.
  • “The scheme will be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) during the current financial year to provide social security to persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions,” the government said in a statement.
  • The scheme will provide pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for 10 years, with monthly/quarterly/half yearly or annual basis options.
  • The difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by the government as a subsidy.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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