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Current Events 7 January 2017

 

NEWS

7 JANUARY 2017

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: ECONOMY - INDICATORS

GDP growth expected to be slower at 7.1% this year

2.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC stays transfer and sale of 2G spectrum by Maxis

3.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC refuses urgent hearing on budget

4.

GS II: GOVERNANCE - POLICY

Aadhaar now mandatory for EPF pension scheme

5.

GS II: SOCIAL - RESERVATION

‘Patidar stir has run out of steam’

6.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC stays order allowing seizure of roosters

7.

GS II: SOCIAL - WOMEN

Knives, lighters to be allowed in metro trains

8.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

‘Bio-fortification key to tackling malnutrition’

9.

GS II: SOCIAL - TRIBALS

Tribals against shifting of villages from protected areas

10.

GS III: ECONOMY- DIGITAL ECONOMY

SBI, HDFC Bank spar over M-wallet fee

11.

GS III: ECONOMY - DISINVESTMENT

Centre clears 26% strategic sale in BEML

12.

GS III: ECONOMY - SECTORS

China grabs 50 per cent of India’s smartphone market

13.

GS III: ECONOMY - BUDGET

Railways may get 6% increase in Budget

14.

GS III: S&T -SPACE

Double delight from Indian telescope data


GS III: ECONOMY - INDICATORS

GDP growth expected to be slower at 7.1% this year

  • India’s gross domestic output is expected to grow at a slower pace of 7.1% in 2016-17 compared to the 7.6% clocked in the previous year, Chief Statistician TCA Anant said.
  • But this doesn’t factor in the impact of the Centre’s decision to scrap high-value currency notes on November 8.
  • This estimate is asserted to be in sync with the Reserve Bank of India’s economic growth forecast, largely based on data from the first seven months of the year.
  • The gross value added (GVA) is estimated to grow 7% in 2016-17 compared with a growth rate of 7.2% in 2015-16.
  • The agriculture sector saw significant growth with its GVA estimated to grow 4.1 per cent in 2016-17 up from 1.2 per cent in the previous year.
  • The service sector in aggregate is expected to grow 7.9 per cent in 2016-17, slower than the 8.1 per cent seen in the previous year.
  • Manufacturing, on the other hand, is expected to witness a slowdown, with the sector’s GVA to grow 7.4 per cent in 2016-17 down from 9.3 per cent in 2015-16.

 

 

 

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC stays transfer and sale of 2G spectrum by Maxis

  • The Supreme Court stayed all transfer and sale by Malaysia-based Maxis group of companies of 2G spectrum, originally allocated to Aircel in November 2006.
  • Maxis’s controlling owner, Ananda Krishnan Tatparanandam, and three face charges in a case linked to the multi-crore 2G spectrum corruption scam, which is under trial before a Special CBI court in Delhi.
  • These four were among eight named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its charge sheet filed on August 29, 2014.
  • They had not complied with repeated summons from the CBI court over the years.
  • To compel the appearance of the accused, the Bench proposed to pass a restraint order against the accused from earning revenue from the use of their allocated 2G spectrum in case they did not turn up in court within the next fortnight.
  • The Bench proposed that, in case the accused chose not to appear in court, no monetary claims for the loss of its allotted 2G spectrum would be entertained.
  • The court further asked the government to publish its order in two leading newspapers of Malaysia so that Maxis and others are officially apprised of the mandate.


GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC refuses urgent hearing on budget

  • The Supreme Court refused an urgent hearing of a petition for the postponement of the Union Budget on account of the Assembly elections announced in five States. “There is no urgency in it. We will lay down the law when this petition comes up,” said a Bench, headed by CJI J.S. Khehar.


GS II: GOVERNANCE - POLICY

Aadhaar now mandatory for EPF pension scheme

  • The Centre has made obtaining an Aadhaar number mandatory for 2.5 crore members of the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) of 1995, one of the benefits available to Employees’ Provident Fund subscribers.
  • The Labour Ministry said in a notification that those without an Aadhaar number will have to make an application to get enrolled by January 31, 2017.
  • The subsidy, equivalent to 1.16 per cent of the employee’s salary upto 6,500, paid by the Centre towards the EPS, will no longer be credited till the Aadhaar number is shared with the authorities.
  • At present, the minimum pension under EPS is 1,000 per month and an employee can receive pension only after a minimum 10 years of service.
  • The Centre contributes 1.16 per cent of the employee’s salary towards the scheme along with employer contribution of 8.33 per cent of the salary.
  • Employees are automatically enrolled under EPS if they are members of the Employees’ Provident Fund scheme.


GS II: SOCIAL - RESERVATION

‘Patidar stir has run out of steam’

  • The Patidar quota agitation in Gujarat has “run out of steam” and the community will support the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Assembly polls, claims Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani amid speculation that election in the State is likely to be advanced by a few months.
  • Mr. Rupani, who took over as Chief Minister after Anandiben Patel’s sudden resignation in August 2016.
  • Deputy Chief Minister and a Patidar, Nitin Patel is holding talks with the Patidar leaders to resolve the legally and politically contentious matter.
  • However, the Chief Minister declined to comment on 23-year-old Patidar quota agitator Hardik Patel. His six-month ‘exile’ from the State is ending and he is preparing a massive show of strength on his return to the State.

GS II: POLITY - JUDICIARY

SC stays order allowing seizure of roosters

  • In a big relief for rural Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu before the Pongal/Sankranti festivities, the Supreme Court stayed an Andhra Pradesh High Court December 26, 2016, order allowing joint teams of police and district administration to barge into any premises and seize roosters primed for traditional fights.
  • The fights are conducted by farmers as part of the Pongal/Sankranti celebrations, a 6000-year-old “sport” held across 13 districts.
  • The apex court issued notice to the State government, the Animal Welfare Board of India, and the Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh, among others, on Mr. Rao's petition.


GS II: SOCIAL - WOMEN

Knives, lighters to be allowed in metro trains

  • Keeping safety in mind, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has permitted women to carry small knives, less than four inches long, while travelling in metro trains.
  • They are not a threat to security but required by women for their protection.
  • The agency has also decided to allow lighters and matchboxes in metro trains, as hundreds of these items are seized from passengers daily during screening. However, one passenger will be allowed to carry only one lighter or matchbox.
  • Certain tools have also been struck off from the list of items restricted from being carried in metro trains. The decision was taken after labourers frequently complained of inconvenience caused to them while travelling in metros.


GS III: AGRICULTURE

‘Bio-fortification key to tackling malnutrition’

  • Looking well beyond food security and hunger elimination, noted agricultural scientist and ‘Father of Green Revolution’ M.S. Swaminathan sees “bio-fortification”, the process of improving nutritional quality of food crops, as holding the key to tackle malnutrition and under-nourishment.
  • He was delivering a talk at the 104th Indian Science Congress in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
  • He floated the idea of developing ‘Nutrition gardens’ (botanical gardens with plants considered rich in vitamins, iron, iodine etc.) and creating public awareness.
  • In this connection, he referred to the role played by the newly-developed sweet potato variety having orange-coloured flesh (high in beta carotene) in combating child malnutrition.
  • “After calorie deficiency and protein deficiency, the hidden ‘micronutrient’ deficiency requires attention now”, he pointed out.
  • Calling food as curative medicine, as has been found in the case of tuberculosis, he said that reaching food to the masses would eliminate most disorders.
  • On Ehrlich's prediction of India falling flat in achieving food security, he threw a challenge to the agricultural scientists to prove wrong all such prophesies. Dr. Swaminathan suggested “genetic checkmating” of new disease threats to usher in the era of food security.
  • From Nehruvian focus on multi-purpose irrigation projects to Lal Bahadur Shastri equating farmer with the soldier with the catchy slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’, Dr. Swaminathan dwelt on former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s inclusion of ‘Jai Vigyan’ that gave the technological thrust to India's focus.


GS II: SOCIAL - TRIBALS

Tribals against shifting of villages from protected areas

  • Tribals residing in the core and buffer zones of the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in Odisha, alleged that the State government was bent on relocating them outside the forest which would jeopardise their livelihood sources as well as separate them from nature.
  • Under the banner of the Similipal Surakshya Manch (SSM), tribals and other traditional forest dwellers said the relocation move was arbitrary and not sync with the Forest Right Act, 2006.
  • They claim that the Gram Sabha consents have not been taken while the families are being threatened to forgo their traditional right over forest.
  • Villagers said if the human activities were detrimental to tiger conservation, why was the government promoting tourism by constructing hotels and guest houses inside the forest.
  • Recently, in a bid to unburden wildlife sanctuaries from anthropogenic pressure, the State government had extended relocation offer to villagers residing inside all the 19 protected wildlife areas of the State ‘in the interest of protection of wildlife areas’. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said the rate of compensation would be at par with the central scheme, which was for only the core area of tiger reserves, and would be met out of the State’s own funds.

GS III: ECONOMY- DIGITAL ECONOMY

SBI, HDFC Bank spar over M-wallet fee

  • If you have a savings account with HDFC Bank and you want to transfer funds from that account to State Bank of India’s mobile wallet, you won’t be able to do so as of now.
  • This is because SBI and HDFC Bank are yet to reach an agreement on how much the former will pay the latter for such a transfer.
  • When funds are transferred to a mobile wallet from a bank account, the wallet company has to charge the bank, which is either a percentage of the amount transferred or a fixed amount.
  • According to HDFC Bank officials, SBI has not agreed to the fee it demanded for such transfer. “We have asked for 1.5 per cent fee per transaction — for the funds transferred from our accounts to SBI’s wallet — which the bank is yet to agree,” a HDFC Bank official in the know of the matter said.
  • The country’s largest lender is also not allowing its fund transfer from its bank accounts to standalone mobile wallets like Paytm and MobiKwik due to security reasons.
  • The Ratan Watal committee which was set up by the government had recently suggested a medium term roadmap for digital payments to grow substantially over the next three years from the current level of about five per cent of personal consumption and 20 per cent of all transactions.


GS III: ECONOMY - DISINVESTMENT

Centre clears 26% strategic sale in BEML

  • The Centre will sell 26% stake in defence equipment manufacturer BEML, out of government’s shareholding of 54.03%, making it the first major PSU to be sold through strategic disinvestment, which may fetch the exchequer over 1,000 crore.
  • The strategic sale approval is just the third in over 12 years.
  • In September, the Cabinet had cleared strategic sale of Bharat Pumps and Compressors Ltd., while in December it had approved sale of India’s first pharma company Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd as well as Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd.
  • These PSUs will be the first privatisation since sale of Jessop and Co in 2003-04 under the NDA government headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • These are among the public sector units that NITI Aayog has identified for sale of government’s majority stake to private companies in order to bring in greater efficiency and professionalism in their functioning.
  • Established in May 1964, BEML operates on three major business verticals for associated equipment manufacturing — mining and construction, rail and metro and defence and aerospace.


GS III: ECONOMY - SECTORS

China grabs 50 per cent of India’s smartphone market

  • Chinese brands took their largest ever slice of the $10-billion Indian smartphone market in late 2016, accounting for more than one in every two phones sold - a growing market share that ate into sales from top-selling Samsung Electronics.
  • Samsung, the single most popular smartphone brand in India, commanded a roughly 30 percent market share just over a year ago. That slipped to 21 percent in November 2016, according to data available.
  • Thanks to low cost, improved technology and an advertising blitz, Chinese brands like Oppo, Lenovo, OnePlus and Gionee took a combined share of over 50 per cent, compared with just 19 per cent a year ago.


GS III: ECONOMY - BUDGET

Railways may get 6% increase in Budget

  • The Finance Ministry may grant the Indian Railways a more than six per cent increase in gross budgetary support to Rs. 48,000 crore, a figure that the operator of the world’s fourth largest railway network wants raised further, according to official sources.
  • The Finance Ministry has pegged the budgetary support at Rs. 48,000 crore for 2017-18.
  • While the public utility had sought Rs. 60,000 crore for the coming fiscal to rev up investments, the Finance Ministry had pointed out that the Railways won’t have to pay any dividend from the coming year.
  • The Budget, which is likely to be presented on February 1, will be the first time that the state-owned Railways will have its allocation announced in the Union Budget as the colonial-era practice of a separate Railway Budget has been dispensed with.
  • The GBS will, however, be more than six per cent higher than Rs. 45,000 crore provided by the Finance Ministry in 2016-17. The increase in budgetary support is significant as the Indian Railways will no longer be required to pay dividend to the Finance Ministry for the capital invested in it following the Budget merger from 2017-18.
  • In 2016-17, Indian Railways is budgeted to pay Rs. 9,731 crore as dividend, whereas the subsidy claimed by the Railways towards loss-making routes is estimated at Rs. 4,301 crore. As a result, the net dividend payment to the Finance Ministry is estimated at Rs. 5,430 crore in 2016-17 against the gross budgetary support of Rs. 45,000 crore.
  • The Indian Railways meets its planned expenditure through a combination of GBS, market borrowings and internal revenue generation.
  • The dividend waiver will allow the Railways to step up investment towards track renewal, maintenance, station improvement and passenger amenities.


GS III: S&T -SPACE

Double delight from Indian telescope data

  • Astronomers, using data from India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune, have discovered two of the most powerful phenomena in the universe — a supermassive black hole and the collision of giant galaxy clusters about two billion light years from Earth.
  • By combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune and other telescopes, researchers found what happens when matter ejected by a giant black hole is swept up in the merger of two enormous galaxy clusters.
  • Optical data from the Keck Observatory and Japan’s Subaru telescope, both on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, detected the galaxies in each cluster.
  • First, at least one spinning, supermassive black hole in one of the galaxy clusters produced a rotating, tightly—wound magnetic funnel. The powerful electromagnetic fields associated with this structure have accelerated some of the inflowing gas away from the vicinity of the black hole in the form of an energetic, high-speed jet.


 

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