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Daily Current Affairs Analysis 2018 - 2019

for UPSC IAS Civil Services Examination

May
11
Sat
2019
Headlines (Video)
May 11 @ 9:30 am
Headlines (Video)

Online Current Affairs

 

Course Name: Daily Online Current Affairs Analysis
Course coverage: Current Affairs Analysis by video lecture (daily news from Monday to Saturday) Important & relevant news for UPSC CSE preparation.

(Prelims 2017 had 35 questions & 2018 had 51 questions directly from the current affairs & class notes of A A Shah’s IAS Institute compiled by Bilquees Khatri)

Duration: 12 months from the date of enrolment
Mode: Online (to view course details click

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yf-jEKCmpE&t=1s

Course Fee: Rs. 6000/-

Click here for payment details

Offers: Referral Discount Rs.500/- per referral.
Demo Lecture: Click Here For Registration of FREE Demo Lecture

To view Demo Lecture click the image below

 

News (Text)
May 11 @ 11:30 am

NEWS

11 MAY 2019



Daily Current Affairs based on ‘The Hindu’ newspaper as per the syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination (Prelims and Mains) Compiled by Mrs. Bilquees Khatri.


Sr. No. Topic News
1. GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST Supreme Court extends Ayodhya mediation till Aug. 15
2. GS III: DEFENCE – RAFALE Why no FIR on Rafale deal complaint: SC
3. GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION Karnataka law on SC/ST promotion quota upheld
4. GS III: S&T – SPACE Chandrayaan-2 will carry 14 payloads from India
5. GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT Fani’s fury creates four new mouths in Odisha’s Chilika Lake
6. GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods
7. GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA Chelsea Manning freed from jail in contempt case
8. GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA Kim orders stronger strike power; U.S. still open to talks
9. GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING Etihad turns up at eleventh hour as lone bidder for Jet
10. GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS Missing firms: govt. says not much impact on GDP working
11. GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS IIP at a 21-month low as manufacturing slows down
12. GS III: S&T – SPACE Amazon unveils space vision, moon lander
13. GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH ‘India faces acute shortage of healthcare providers’

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Supreme Court extends Ayodhya mediation till Aug. 15

  • A five-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, gave the Supreme Court-appointed mediation committee time till August 15 to continue with its efforts to resolve the prolonged and strife-ridden Ayodhya title dispute.
  • The panel of mediators comprises former Supreme Court judge Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, as Chairman; spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a pioneer in alternative dispute resolution, as members.
  • The court sent the dispute for mediation on March 8 in a bid to heal minds and hearts. It gave the panel an initial deadline of eight weeks.
  • The eight weeks was the time given to the Muslim parties to examine the accuracy and relevance of the Uttar Pradesh government’s official translation of thousands of pages of oral depositions and exhibits in the title suit appeals pending since 2010 in the court.
  • In fact, the court had invoked Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code to propose mediation as an “effective utilisation of time” during the interregnum.
  • The court had stressed the need for “utmost confidentiality” in the mediation to ensure its success.
  • It had gone to the extent of opining that the media should refrain from reporting the mediation proceedings.

GS III: DEFENCE – RAFALE

Why no FIR on Rafale deal complaint: SC

  • Justice K.M. Joseph asked the government why there was still no FIR registered on a corruption complaint made to the CBI in October 2018 in connection with the 36 Rafale jets deal.
  • A combative government also took offence when Justice Joseph asked it to provide records of the deliberations made by the Indian Negotiating Team (INT) after three of its domain experts wrote a stinging eight-page dissent note concluding that the Narendra Modi government’s Rafale deal for 36 jets was not on “better terms” than the offer made by Dassault Aviation during the procurement process for 126 aircraft under the United Progressive Alliance government.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

Karnataka law on SC/ST promotion quota upheld

  • The Supreme Court upheld a Karnataka law which grants reservation in promotion and consequential seniority to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in government services in the State.
  • A Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud declared that the multiple petitions challenging the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act, 2018, “lack in substance.”
  • The law protects consequential seniority from April 24, 1978.
  • Countering arguments that reservation in promotion would affect administrative efficiency and erode merit, Justice Chandrachud, who wrote the judgment, observed that “establishing the position of the SCs and STs as worthy participants in the affairs of governance is intrinsic to an equal citizenship.”
  • The judge said “administrative efficiency is an outcome of the actions taken by officials after they are appointed or promoted. It is not tied to the selection method itself.”
  • The argument that one selection method produced officials capable of taking better actions than a second method must be empirically proven, he said.
  • The 135-page judgment is significant as it is the first verdict after a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in 2018, in the Jarnail Singh case, declared that a State does not really have to collect quantifiable data on SC/ST backwardness before implementing reservation.
  • To this extent the Jarnail Singh judgment had modified a 2006 judgment in the Nagaraj case. The latter case had called for collection of quantifiable data on backwardness.
  • But Justice Chandrachud found that the State of Karnataka had carried out the exercise of collating, analysing data through the Ratna Prabha Committee. The 2018 law was based on the committee’s extensive ‘̳Report on Backwardness, Inadequacy of Representation and Administrative Efficiency in Karnataka’ submitted in 2017.
  • The court said providing of reservation for SCs and the STs is not at odds with the principle of meritocracy.

GS III: S&T – SPACE

Chandrayaan-2 will carry 14 payloads from India

  • Chandrayaan-2, the lunar lander mission planned to be launched during July 9-16, will have 14 Indian payloads or study devices, a mission update of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said.
  • The 3,800-kg spacecraft includes an orbiter which will circle the moon at 100 km; a five-legged lander called Vikram that will descend on the moon on or around September 6; and a robotic rover, Pragyan, that will probe the lunar terrain around it.
  • ISRO said all three modules will carry payloads but did not specify them or their objective.
  • The orbiter alone will have eight payloads or instruments. The lander will carry four while the rover will be equipped with two instruments.
  • ISRO has chosen a landing area at the hitherto unexplored lunar south pole, making it the first agency to touch down at the south pole if it succeeds in its first landing attempt.
  • ISRO will send the mission on its heavy lift booster, the GSLV MkIII, from Sriharikota.
  • Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second outing to the moon.
  • In October 2008, the space organisation had launched its orbiter mission Chandrayaan-1 on its PSLV booster. The spacecraft had 11 payloads.
  • One of the U.S. payloads shares credit with Chandrayaan-1 for confirming the presence of water ice on the moon.
  • Before that, the Moon Impacter Probe carrying the Indian tricolour image was made to hard-land on the lunar south pole.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Fani’s fury creates four new mouths in Odisha’s Chilika Lake

  • The extremely severe cyclone Fani has created four new mouths in Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lake, connecting to the Bay of Bengal, officials said.
  • Chilika Development Authority (CDA) officials have started studying the impact of saline ingression into the lake.
  • “Chilika lagoon had only two active mouths — the point where it meets the sea before Fani hit the Odisha coast on May 3. Four new mouths have opened due to wave energy with high tidal prism,” said Susanta Nanda, Chief Executive, CDA.
  • The rise in salinity may alter Chilika’s ecosystem.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods

  • The trade war between the U.S. and China took a turn for the worse as the Trump administration increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • Tariffs on 5,700 categories of goods increased from 10% to 25% on 10 May 2019.
  • The tariffs for the $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, “as part of the U.S.’s continuing response to China’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of American technology,” was set to kick in January 1 as per a September 2018 announcement from the USTR, but it was held in abeyance as negotiations continued.
  • The tariffs went into effect just hours before U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He held a second day of talks in Washington.
  • The tariff rate on machinery and technology imports from China, whose value is about $50 billion, was already hiked to 25% in 2018 in tit-for-tat tariff rounds between the two countries.
  • The U.S. imported $558 billion of goods from China as per the USTR, with $250 billion attracting 25% tariffs as of 10 May 2019.
  • American agriculture has felt much of the heat of the tit-for-tat trade war with China.
  • Tariff increases will also mean U.S. firms paying more for Chinese inputs and those costs will be, at least in partially, passed on to American consumers.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Chelsea Manning freed from jail in contempt case

  • Former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was freed from a U.S. jail after two months in custody — but faces a possible return to the lockup as soon as next week, a support group said.
  • Manning was jailed in early March 2019 for refusing to testify in a grand jury investigation targeting the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
  • A judge in March 2019 ruled Ms. Manning in contempt of court and ordered her held not as punishment but to force her testimony in the secret case, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in the Alexandria, Virginia federal court said at the time.
  • The support group, the Sparrow Project, said that Ms. Manning was released following the expiry of the grand jury’s term. “Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena. This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16,” Sparrow Project quoted Ms. Manning’s legal team as saying.
  • “It is therefore conceivable that she will once again be held in contempt of court,” and returned to jail, the legal team said. “Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions.”

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Kim orders stronger strike power; U.S. still open to talks

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the military to boost its strike capability as he directed another missile firing, state media said, as tensions grew over tests that appeared to show development of a new advanced missile system.
  • Kim’s call for a “full combat posture” follows the U.S. seizure of a large North Korean cargo ship accused of illicit coal shipments.
  • The increased tensions come amid a gridlock in dialogue after the second summit between Mr. Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed over U.S. demands for Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament and Mr. Kim’s demands for relief from sanctions.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Etihad turns up at eleventh hour as lone bidder for Jet

  • Etihad Airways PJSC, which holds 24% stake in Jet Airways, submitted a binding bid to acquire additional minority stake in Jet Airways in the bank-led resolution plan.
  • Lenders had put 75% stake of Jet Airways on sale.
  • Etihad’s bid came just before the end of the deadline for receipt of binding bids invited by SBI Caps on behalf of lenders.
  • Etihad, which has put several conditions before the lenders, including a waiver from making a mandatory open offer, is the only candidate which submitted the binding bid among the four short-listed bidders selected earlier through the Expression of Interest (EoI) process.
  • The others were TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
  • This means, Etihad Airways will remain a minority partner and can have maximum holding of up to 49%.
  • As per foreign investment norms, majority control of any airline has to be in the hands of Indians.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Missing firms: govt. says not much impact on GDP working

  • The Finance Ministry clarified that the ‘missing’ enterprises in the MCA-21 database did not have a significant impact on the calculation of growth rates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Value Added (GVA) as these companies still added to the total output of the economy.
  • The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in a recent survey report on the service sector found that, of a sample of 35,456 companies taken from the MCA-21 database, 38.7% were out-of-survey unit.
  • “Some sections of the media have misinterpreted these out-of-survey enterprises (as classified for the purposes of surveying the services sector) to be enterprises that do not exist in the economy,” the clarification said. “On the basis of this interpretation, the suggestion has emerged that by not removing out-of-survey enterprises from the MCA database, Central Statistics Office (CSO) over-estimates the gross domestic product of the country.”
  • The Finance Ministry explained that of the 38.7%
  • out-of-survey enterprises in the NSSO report, out-of-coverage enterprises comprised 21.4%. These out-of-coverage enterprises were those that were not engaged in activities intended for inclusion in the service sector survey.
  • “However, these enterprises are engaged in some economic activity, possibly in the manufacturing sector for instance,” the Ministry said. “As a result, they cannot be classified as out-of-coverage enterprises for the purposes of estimating the GDP of the country. In other words, the GDP estimates based on the aforesaid out-of-coverage enterprises are very much a part of overall GDP of the country.”
  • The Ministry did acknowledge that the bulk of the remaining 17.3% out-of-survey enterprises were either closed or untraceable, but justified this by saying that this proportion was falling over the years and that their impact on the overestimation of GDP “in all likelihood” is marginal.
  • “Crucially, we must note that the share of total paid up capital of the private corporate sector that is accounted by non-responsive enterprises affects GDP estimates using the MCA database, not the number of non-responsive enterprises in the private corporate sector,” it added.
  • In simpler terms, GDP estimates are affected by the share in the paid-up capital of the missing companies and not by their absolute number.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

IIP at a 21-month low as manufacturing slows down

  • Growth in industrial activity dipped to a 21-month low in March, contracting 0.1% due in large part to a continuing slowdown in the manufacturing sector, according to official data released.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contracted in March for the first time since June 2013. Within this, the manufacturing sector contracted by 0.43% in March 2019, the second consecutive month of contraction (it contracted 0.39% in February 2019) and the third consecutive month of slowing growth.

GS III: S&T – SPACE

Amazon unveils space vision, moon lander

  • Jeff Bezos, who heads both Amazon and space company Blue Origin, unveiled a lunar lander that he said would be used to transport equipment, and possibly human beings, to the south pole of the moon by 2024.
  • The vehicle has been under development for the past three years, Mr. Bezos said.
  • It will be capable of carrying scientific instruments, the four small rovers, and also a future pressurised vehicle for humans.
  • The goal is to land on the moon’s south pole, where ice deposits were confirmed in 2018.
  • Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which in turn could fuel future exploration of the solar system.
  • President Trump’s intention to return to the moon in 2024 has sent NASA into a frenzy of activity since the end of March, because that particular mission was originally anticipated for 2028.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

‘India faces acute shortage of healthcare providers’

  • Despite the health sector employing five million workers in India, it continues to have low density of health professionals with figures for the country being lower than those of Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, United Kingdom and Brazil, according to a World Health Organisation database.
  • This workforce statistic has put the country into the “critical shortage of healthcare providers” category.
  • Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the worst hit while Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Gujarat compare favourably.
  • Southeast Asia needs a 50% increase in healthcare manpower to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
Editorial
May 11 @ 11:45 am
Editorial

11 MAY 2019

For a full bench

 

Progress in judicial appointment is welcome, but it is time for systemic change

The government and the Supreme Court collegium seem to disagree on recommendations for judicial appointments quite frequently these days. It has become routine to hear that some recommendations for High Court appointments, as well as elevation to the Supreme Court, have met with disapproval from the government. In such instances, it requires reiteration by the collegium for the names to be cleared. This need not always be a cause for concern if it is a sign of some serious consultation on the suitability of those recommended. However, it acquires the character of a controversy if the government’s objections suggest an oblique motive to thwart or delay the appointment of particular nominees. The latest development concerns Jharkhand High Court Chief Justice Aniruddha Bose and Gauhati High Court Chief Justice A.S. Bopanna, who were on April 12 recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court. The government had sought a reconsideration of the two names. The collegium has now repeated its recommendations, emphasising that there is nothing adverse against the two judges in terms of their “conduct, competence and integrity” and that there is no reason to agree with the government. Under the present procedure, the government is now bound to accept the recommendation. The Supreme Court is keen to fill up the current vacancies. It has also recommended two more judges, Justice B.R. Gavai of the Bombay High Court and Chief Justice Surya Kant of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, for appointment to the apex court. If all these four recommendations go through, the court will have its full complement of 31 judges.

While this will be welcome, some issues persist. In systemic terms, the advisability of retaining the collegium system of appointments is a major concern; and in terms of process, the huge number of vacancies in the various High Courts and lower courts is another. The process of filling up vacancies depends on the relative speed with which the collegium initiates proposals for appointments and makes its recommendations after internal deliberations, and the time the government takes to process the names. As on May 1, the total number of vacancies in all the High Courts is 396. It is true that the filling up of vacancies is a continuous and collaborative process involving the executive and the judiciary, and there cannot be a time frame for it. However, it is time to think of a permanent, independent body to institutionalise the process. The known inadequacies of the collegium system and the mystery over whether a new memorandum of procedure is in the offing are reasons why the proposal for a constitutionally empowered council to make judicial appointments ought to be revived — of course, with adequate safeguards to preserve the judiciary’s independence. The time may have come for a systemic and processual overhaul.

A fraught moment

The U.S. and China need to take sustained steps to de-escalate tensions over tariffs

The U.S.-China trade war has flared up again after a deceptive lull over the last few months, when both sides were trying to negotiate a deal. Out of nowhere, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would raise the 10% tariff imposed on $200-billion worth of Chinese goods to 25%, starting Friday. That the Trump administration pressed ahead with the increase even as China’s Vice Premier Liu He was still in Washington for a second day of talks with U.S. trade officials only underscores the businessman-turned-President’s ‘take no prisoners’ approach to negotiations. China promptly promised retaliatory action, but was yet to spell out the measures. With Mr. Trump tweeting that “the process has begun to place additional tariffs at 25% on the remaining” Chinese goods worth $325 billion, the U.S. administration unambiguously signalled it was not going to be the first to blink. The latest revival in tensions between the world’s two largest economies elevates the risk of a global trade war to its highest level since the first signs emerged in 2018. The increase in tariffs imposed on goods crossing international borders essentially represents a new tax on a global economy already facing a slowdown. Last month, the International Monetary Fund trimmed its projection for global growth in 2019 to 3.3%, from a 3.5% forecast made in January, citing slowing momentum in “70% of the world economy”. IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath had at the time projected a pick-up in global growth momentum in the second half, predicated substantially on the “improved” outlook for U.S.-China trade tensions.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde and Ms. Gopinath, however, presciently warned that the world economy was poised at “a delicate moment”. Were tensions in trade policy to flare up again, it could result in large disruptions to global supply chains and pose downside risks to global growth, the IMF warned. Barely a month later, the world economy faces the very real risk of an escalation in this trade war where other countries, including India, can largely only wait and watch as the U.S. and China raise the pitch. While the U.S. may have genuine concerns about Chinese protectionism, the overall economic logic behind Mr. Trump’s trade policy still remains weak. The cost of these tariffs will, after all, eventually be borne by American consumers and could result in U.S. job losses too as the import of Chinese parts become uneconomical for smaller businesses. Indian policymakers would do well to closely monitor how the latest escalation in trade tensions pans out for global demand and international energy prices, given that the RBI has flagged oil price volatility as a factor that would have a bearing on India’s inflation outlook.

Question Bank
May 11 @ 2:30 pm
Question Bank

11th MAY 2019

QUESTION BANK

(1 Question)

GS III: INDIAN ECONOMY

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/resolving-indias-banking-crisis/article27097047.ece

Q1. Discuss the genesis of the NPA problem faced by Indian banks. Suggest measures to overcome the issue of rising NPAs in India.

Ans.

  • Non-performing assets (NPAs) at commercial banks amounted to ₹10.3 trillion, or 11.2% of advances, in March 2018. Public sector banks (PSBs) accounted for ₹8.9 trillion, or 86%, of the total NPAs. The ratio of gross NPA to advances in PSBs was 14.6%. These are levels typically associated with a banking crisis. In 2007-08, NPAs totalled ₹566 billion (a little over half a trillion), or 2.26% of gross advances. The increase in NPAs since then has been staggering. This came about partly because of the credit boom of the years 2004-05 to 2008-09. In that period, commercial credit (or what is called ‘non-food credit’) doubled. It was a period in which the world economy as well as the Indian economy were booming. Indian firms borrowed furiously in order to avail of the growth opportunities they saw coming. Most of the investment went into infrastructure and related areas — telecom, power, roads, aviation, steel. Thereafter, as the Economic Survey of 2016-17 notes, many things began to go wrong. Thanks to problems in acquiring land and getting environmental clearances, several projects got stalled. The depreciation of the rupee meant higher outflows for companies that had borrowed in foreign currency. This combination of adverse factors made it difficult for companies to service their loans to Indian banks.
  • The year 2014-15 marked a watershed. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), acting in the belief that NPAs were being under-stated, introduced tougher norms for NPA recognition under an Asset Quality Review. NPAs in 2015-16 almost doubled over the previous year as a result. It is not as if bad decisions had suddenly happened. It’s just that the cumulative bad decisions of the past were now coming to be more accurately captured.
  • Higher NPAs mean higher provisions on the part of banks. Provisions rose to a level where banks, especially PSBs, started making losses. Their capital got eroded as a result. Capital from the government was slow in coming and it was barely adequate to meet regulatory norms for minimum capital. Without adequate capital, bank credit cannot grow. Even as the numerator in the ratio of gross NPAs/advances rose sharply, growth in the denominator fell. Both these movements caused the ratio to shoot up to a crisis level. Once NPAs happen, it is important to effect to resolve them quickly. Otherwise, the interest on dues causes NPAs to rise relentlessly.

WAY FORWARD

  • There are problems with the idea of privatization of banks. There are wide variations within each ownership category. In 2018, the State Bank of India’s (SBI’s) gross NPA/gross advances ratio was 10.9%. This was not much higher than that of the second largest private bank, ICICI Bank, 9.9%. The ratio at a foreign bank, Standard Chartered Bank, 11.7%, was higher than that of SBI. Moreover, private and foreign banks were part of consortia that are now exposed to some of the largest NPAs. Wholesale privatisation of PSBs is thus not the answer to a complex problem. We need a broad set of actions, some immediate and others over the medium-term and aimed at preventing the recurrence of such crises.
  • One immediate action that is required is resolving the NPAs. Banks have to accept losses on loans (or ‘haircuts’). They should be able to do so without any fear of harassment by the investigative agencies. The Indian Banks’ Association has set up a six-member panel to oversee resolution plans of lead lenders. To expedite resolution, more such panels may be required. An alternative is to set up a Loan Resolution Authority, if necessary through an Act of Parliament. Second, the government must infuse at one go whatever additional capital is needed to recapitalise banks — providing such capital in multiple instalments is not helpful.
  • Over the medium term, the RBI needs to develop better mechanisms for monitoring macro-prudential indicators. It especially needs to look out for credit bubbles. True, it’s not easy to tell a bubble when one is building up. Perhaps, a simple indicator would be a rate of credit growth that is way out of line with the trend rate of growth of credit or with the broad growth rate of the economy.
  • Actions needs to be taken to strengthen the functioning of banks in general and, more particularly, PSBs. Governance at PSBs, meaning the functioning of PSB boards, can certainly improve. One important lesson from the past decade’s experience with NPAs is that management of concentration risk — that is, excessive exposure to any business group, sector, geography, etc. — is too important to be left entirely to bank boards. The RBI has drawn this lesson to some extent. Effective April 1, 2019, the limit for exposure to any business group has been reduced from 40% of total capital to 25% of tier I capital (which consists of equity and quasi-equity instruments). The limit for a single borrower will be 20% of tier 1 capital (instead of 20% of total capital).
  • Other aspects of concentration risk remain to be addressed. Overall risk management at PSBs needs to be taken to a higher level. This certainly requires strengthening of PSB boards. We need to induct more high-quality professionals on PSB boards and compensate them better.
  • Succession planning at PSBs also needs to improve. Despite the constitution of the Banks Board Bureau to advise on selection of top management, the appointment of Managing Directors and Executive Directors continues to be plagued by long delays. This must end.
Daily Compilation (PDF)
May 11 @ 3:30 pm
May
12
Sun
2019
Headlines (Video)
May 12 @ 9:30 am
Headlines (Video)

Online Current Affairs

 

Course Name: Daily Online Current Affairs Analysis
Course coverage: Current Affairs Analysis by video lecture (daily news from Monday to Saturday) Important & relevant news for UPSC CSE preparation.

(Prelims 2017 had 35 questions & 2018 had 51 questions directly from the current affairs & class notes of A A Shah’s IAS Institute compiled by Bilquees Khatri)

Duration: 12 months from the date of enrolment
Mode: Online (to view course details click

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yf-jEKCmpE&t=1s

Course Fee: Rs. 6000/-

Click here for payment details

Offers: Referral Discount Rs.500/- per referral.
Demo Lecture: Click Here For Registration of FREE Demo Lecture

To view Demo Lecture click the image below

 

May
13
Mon
2019
Headlines (Video)
May 13 @ 9:30 am
Headlines (Video)

Online Current Affairs

 

Course Name: Daily Online Current Affairs Analysis
Course coverage: Current Affairs Analysis by video lecture (daily news from Monday to Saturday) Important & relevant news for UPSC CSE preparation.

(Prelims 2017 had 35 questions & 2018 had 51 questions directly from the current affairs & class notes of A A Shah’s IAS Institute compiled by Bilquees Khatri)

Duration: 12 months from the date of enrolment
Mode: Online (to view course details click

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yf-jEKCmpE&t=1s

Course Fee: Rs. 6000/-

Click here for payment details

Offers: Referral Discount Rs.500/- per referral.
Demo Lecture: Click Here For Registration of FREE Demo Lecture

To view Demo Lecture click the image below

 

News (Text)
May 13 @ 11:30 am

NEWS

13 MAY 2019


Daily Current Affairs based on ‘The Hindu’ newspaper as per the syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination (Prelims and Mains) Compiled by Mrs. Bilquees Khatri.


Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

63.5% turnout in sixth phase

2.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

State reels under drought as water reserves dry up

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

Death of 3 children unsettles Kolam tribe

4.

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Prashant Bhushan sends notice to Centre on Bt Brinjal

5.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

T.N. reiterates demand for IGST dues worth Rs. 5,453 crore

6.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLICY

Vedanta gets initial clearance for 274 hydrocarbon wells in T.N., Puducherry

7.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Anti-Muslim attacks lead to curfew

8.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

63.5% turnout in sixth phase

  • An overall tentative turnout of 63.5% was reported from the 59 constituencies in six States and the Union Territory of Delhi in the penultimate phase of the Lok Sabha election.
  • Incidents of violence were reported from West Bengal and Jharkhand.
  • The turnout in 2014 stood at 63.67%.
  • The highest participation of 80.35% again was reported from the eight seats in West Bengal which, however, was lower than the 84.95% in the previous election.

GS III: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

State reels under drought as water reserves dry up

  • As the water situation steadily worsens in the arid Marathwada region, districts in ‘water-abundant’ western Maharashtra, too, are feeling the lash of the drought.
  • Rising mercury levels have resulted in the rapid depletion of water stocks in the 22 dams which are part of the Bhima river basin in western Maharashtra and are the potable water lifelines of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
  • At least five of these dams, including Dimbhe and Temghar, have 0% water stock currently, while the collective stock in seven other dams is less than 10% of their capacity. The remaining 10 have a collective reserve stock of a little over 20% .
  • While Pune’s Guardian Minister Girish Bapat announced that Pune city would not face water cuts, sources in the Water Resources Department said that dams in the Pune region had barely 18% water stock available as on May 6, as compared to 38% at the same time in 2018.

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

Death of 3 children unsettles Kolam tribe

  • Members of the Particularly Vulnerable Kolam tribe of Kothapalli Kolamguda in Telangana’s Adilabad district are on edge following the death of three children from food poisoning on May 8.
  • The Kolam fear that more ill-luck could be in store for them and are on the lookout for a bhaktak/devari or a priest to ‘exorcise’ the evil that has gripped their habitation.
  • The process to appease the gods could set them back by a few thousand rupees. However, in a worse scenario, they may be forced to vacate their village and relocate if the priests deem the place unsafe — a process they have undertaken often times before.
  • The superstitious nature of the PVTG tribe often has villagers shifting locations.
  • There have been instances like the current one of Sidam Mutha of Jhari Kolamguda in Kerameri mandal of KB Asifabad district wherein a few villagers have branded him a sorcerer and are harassing him constantly.
  • In 2017, Sidam Poshiga, a Kolam from Chinnuguda in the same mandal, was killed by members of the community, who suspected him of practising witchcraft

GS III: S&T – BIOTECHNOLOGY

Prashant Bhushan sends notice to Centre on Bt Brinjal

  • Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan has sent a legal notice to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan asking for a freeze on all genetically modified organisms, including field trials.
  • Though growing Bt brinjal is illegal in India, Mr. Bhushan’s letter comes in the aftermath of activist groups recently proffering evidence of Bt Brinjal, a GM crop, being grown in a farmer’s field in Haryana.
  • Bhushan’s letter demands that the Environment Ministry “…uproot and destroy planted Bt brinjal in farms and seedlings in nurseries, undertake a scaled-up exercise of testing of seeds and plantings (for the presence of Bt genes) and, ascertain the supply chain – from seed developers to intermediaries.”
  • Developed by the Maharashtra-based seed company, Mahyco, Bt brinjal was the first food crop made to contain an insecticidal protein, called cry1 ac, sourced from the genes of the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringienesis.
  • Though this was cleared for commercial cultivation it was put in deep-freeze, by former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in 2010 on the grounds that there was scientific and public disagreement on its safety.

GS III: ECONOMY – GST

T.N. reiterates demand for IGST dues worth Rs. 5,453 crore

  • The Tamil Nadu government has written to the Union Finance Ministry, reiterating its demand for the apportionment of its share of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) from the 2017-18 fiscal.
  • Funds to the tune of Rs. 5,453.82 crore are due to be paid to the State, officials said.
  • Under the IGST scheme, 50% of the collections will go to the Centre (as the CGST) and the remaining 50% will be allocated to the States and Union Territories (as the State Goods and Services Tax component).
  • And, 42% of the CGST will be devolved to the States and Union Territories.
  • Sources said the States/Union Territories are supposed to get 71% of the IGST (including 50% of the SGST and 21%, which is 42% of the 50% CGST).
  • But due to wrong calculation, States received only 42% of the IGST during 2017-18.
  • The CAG report, ‘Accounts of the Union Government – Financial Audit’, released in February 2019, stated that the Centre had devolved Rs. 67,998 crore under the IGST to States/UTs from the States’ share. “Only 50% of the IGST revenues are of the Centre, and devolution is possible only from the Central share,” it noted.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLICY

Vedanta gets initial clearance for 274 hydrocarbon wells in T.N., Puducherry

  • The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has granted the Terms of Reference (ToR) to Vedanta Ltd’s Cairn Oil & Gas, to carry out Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for drilling a total of 274 offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration wells in the Bay of Bengal, Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Villupuram and Puducherry.
  • The sanction letter with the ToR to proceed with the EIA was issued to the company.
  • Vedanta proposes to drill 116 exploratory and appraisal wells in project block 1 and 158 wells in project block 2. The depth of the drilling wells will be between 3,500 and 4,500 metres each.
  • The project is just 0.49 km from the Pichavaram mangrove forest. Densely populated areas such as Poompuhar, Karaikal, Nagapattinam and Velankanni are located in the block. A number of rivers also run through the project block.
  • In 2017, Vedanta was allocated hydrocarbons exploration and production licence by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas under a revenue sharing contract.
  • The first block covers an area of 1,794 sq.km, of which 1,654 sq.km is offshore in the Bay of Bengal and 141 sq.km is onshore — 139 sq.km in Villupuram and 2 sq.km in Puducherry.
  • The second block covers 2,574 sq.km consisting of 142 sq.km of Nagapattinam, 39 sq.km of Karaikal and 2,393 sq.km of sea portion of the Bay of Bengal, according to Vedanta’s submissions to the MoEF while applying for the grant of the ToR.
  • The ToR for carrying out an EIA is the first step that needs to be completed and certified for setting up a project.
  • The EIA will study the environmental impact of the project, explain the consequences and the mitigating measures to be undertaken.
  • Approval for carrying out the EIA is no guarantee of a project being granted final approval, but generally it is granted clearance, unless the reasons are too difficult to justify.
  • “Under the EIA Notification 2006, the Standard TOR for environment impact assessment report and environment management plan for obtaining environment clearance is prescribed with public consultation,” the Ministry said in a letter to Vedanta

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Anti-Muslim attacks lead to curfew

  • Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and stores and a local man was beaten in the town of Chilaw on Sri Lanka’s west coast in a dispute that started on Facebook.
  • This comes three weeks after bombers blew themselves up on in four hotels and three churches, killing more than 250 people on Easter Sunday.
  • Since then, Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints from across the country about people being harassed.
  • In Negombo, where more than 100 people were killed during Easter prayers, a violent clash erupted between local Muslims and Christians after a traffic dispute.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)

Editorial
May 13 @ 11:45 am
Editorial

13 MAY 2019

Substantive equality

The Supreme Court decision rightly rejects the notion that quotas affect efficiency

The Supreme Court verdict upholding a Karnataka law to preserve the consequential seniority of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates promoted on the basis of reservation is notable for being the first instance of quantifiable data being used to justify reservation. After a similar 2002 law was struck down on the ground that there was no data, as required by the judgment in Nagaraj (2006), the Karnataka government appointed a committee to collect data on the “backwardness” of SC/ST communities, the inadequacy of their representation in the services and the overall impact of reservation on the efficiency of the administration — parameters laid down in the 2006 verdict as constitutional limitations on the power to extend reservation in employment. Based on the report, the State enacted a fresh law, which has now been upheld on the ground that it is compliant with the Nagaraj formulation, as well as the clarification found in Jarnail Singh (2018). A key principle in this decision is that where reservation for SC/ST candidates is concerned, there is no need to demonstrate the ‘backwardness’ of the community. The other pre-requisites of a valid system — quantifiable data on the ‘inadequacy of representation’ for classes of people identified for reservation, and an assessment of the impact of such quota on the “efficiency of administration” — remain valid. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s judgment applies the rule emerging from Jarnail Singh, which decided that Nagaraj did not require reconsideration. At the same time, it held that Nagaraj was not right in insisting on data to justify the ‘backwardness’ of SC/ST communities, as it contradicted a nine-judge Bench decision in Indra Sawhney (1992).

The judgment places in perspective the historical and social justification for according reservation, rejecting the argument that quotas, by themselves, affect administrative “efficiency”. It says merit lies not only in performance but also in achieving goals such as promotion of equality, and that India’s transformative Constitution envisages not just a formal equality of opportunity but the achievement of substantive equality. It accepts the subjective satisfaction of the government in deciding the adequacy of representation, subject to the norm that there should be relevant material before it. One must also recognise the constant tension between legislative intent and judicial interpretation. Most judgments on affirmative action indicate that the courts are laying down constitutional limitations, lest the equality norm, a basic feature of the Constitution, be given the go-by. It is welcome that the backwardness of the SCs and STs no more needs to be demonstrated. Policy-makers should heed the appeal contained in the judgment: there is no antithesis between the concept of efficiency and the inclusion of diverse sections of society in the administration. While data on representation may be a requirement, the idea that reservation has an adverse effect on administration must be rejected.

Deal in danger

Time is running out for European signatories to the nuclear pact to address Iran’s concerns

Iran’s decision to reduce its commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which sought to curtail its nuclear capabilities, is more of a warning than a move to break the nuclear deal. Iran has been under economic and political pressure since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal a year ago. The U.S. has since amped up its anti-Iran rhetoric and reimposed sanctions. While President Hassan Rouhani clinched the agreement in 2015 despite opposition from hardliners, his promise was that it would help lift sanctions, providing relief to Iran’s economy. But the economic benefits did not last even three years, weakening Mr. Rouhani’s position in Iran’s complex power dynamics. With the U.S. having ended the sanctions-waiver it had given to certain countries, including India, on purchasing Iranian oil, from the first week of May, the Iranian economy has come under more pressure. It is in this context that Mr. Rouhani announced the suspension of some of the restrictions in the deal.

Iran will immediately stop shipping out excess enriched uranium and heavy water. Mr. Rouhani has given 60 days to other signatories to find solutions to shield Iran’s banking and oil sectors from U.S. sanctions. In theory, excess enriched uranium and heavy water allow Iran to expand its nuclear programme, but it hasn’t announced any such plan. The big threat is that it will resume higher levels of enrichment to build weapons unless its grievances are addressed in 60 days. Iran’s response may appear to be calibrated. It hasn’t quit the deal as the U.S. did. And its concerns are genuine as it is being punished even as it is compliant with the terms of the agreement. But Iran’s move to put the remaining signatories on notice could be the start of the formal unravelling of the deal. European countries have been working on a mechanism, which is still in the initial stages, that allows Europe to trade with Iran through a barter system avoiding the dollar and circumventing sanctions. But it hasn’t covered oil trade, the mainstay of Iran’s economy. If Europe doesn’t do enough in 60 days and Iran sticks to its threat, the deal will collapse, giving more reason to the U.S. to escalate hostilities. It has, among other things, deployed an aircraft carrier and a bomber squad to the Gulf. A practical alternative would be for Iran to end this brinkmanship and deepen cooperation with other signatories instead of breaking the deal. Europe, on its part, should stand firmly up to the U.S.’s unilateral threats and pressure, and come up with ways to help Iran. A collapse of the deal would not only exacerbate the Iran nuclear crisis but also set a bad precedent in international diplomacy.

Question Bank
May 13 @ 2:30 pm
Question Bank

13th MAY 2019

QUESTION BANK

(1 Question)

GS II: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-war-on-terror-is-in-peril/article27110001.ece

Q1. The global ‘War on Terror’ was started in the early 2000s but has still not been able to eradicate terror organistions. Discuss.

Ans.

  • The recent attacks on church in Sri Lanka and other regions around the world, underline the many cracks in the concept of a global ‘War on Terror’, and raise questions on what it has achieved in the time since the term was coined by former U.S. President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
  • First, the original mission that the War on Terror was named for is floundering. Not only has the coalition of about 60 countries that sent troops and offered logistical support for ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ failed to end terrorism in Afghanistan, it appears it is preparing to hand the country back to the oppressive Taliban regime that it defeated in December 2001. This, despite the fact there is no guarantee that the terror groups living in safe havens in Pakistan will not also have the run of Afghanistan once the coalition pulls out. The U.S. and allied countries were sidetracked by the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011, which led them to bolster anti-Bashar al-Assad groups in Syria. This eventually paved the way for the IS to establish a ‘Caliphate’ in territories in Syria and Iraq. The next coalition was formed to fight the terror of the IS. The number of global terror attacks (maintained in a Global Terrorism Database by the University of Maryland of events from 1970 to 2018) per year went up from 1,000 in 2004 to 17,000 in 2014. It is clear that the countries in question — Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq — are far from free of the spectre of terrorism. Despite the defeat of the ‘Caliphate’ territorially, the IS or its franchises are appearing in new parts of the world. Sri Lanka is the latest on that list.
  • Second, rather than helping fight pan-Islamist terror groups, the War on Terror appears to help the IS and al-Qaeda more, giving them a footprint far bigger than their actual abilities. This helps them recruit and radicalise Muslim youth from around the globe, and allows them to own terrorists around the world as their own, as IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did in a rare video posted shortly after the Easter Sunday attacks.
  • Third, the narrative they build of a “fight for Islam” is equally false. According to the Global Terrorism Database, of the 81 terror attacks in which more than 100 were killed (high casualty) since 2001, more than 70 were carried out in Islamic or Muslim-majority countries. In a specific search of high casualty terror attacks on religious institutions since 2001, 18 of the top 20 were by Islamist groups on mosques. The War on Terror thus appears to be a concept peddled mostly by pan-Islamist groups and propagated most often by extremists of other religions as a motive for terror attacks, such as the 2011 Utoya island attack in Norway or the New Zealand attacks this year. Governments in countries affected by terrorism must not subscribe to this narrative blindly.
  • Fourth, it is necessary for countries fighting terrorism to learn more closely from their differences, rather than try to generalise from experience. Comparing European states like the U.K., France and Belgium, where hundreds of immigrant Muslims have enlisted for the IS, to South Asian states like India, where Muslim populations are indigenous and only a few dozen are believed to have left for Syria, is akin to comparing apples and oranges. Indian officials have also claimed a higher success in deradicalising IS returnees, because they have enlisted whole families, neighbourhoods and local Maulvis in their efforts. In Bangladesh too, after the 2016 attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, government advertisements asked mothers to check on their children’s activities. This acknowledgement that radicalised terrorists are a part of a community is in stark contrast to the current debate in many European countries that are refusing to take IS returnees and their families back. Similarly, several Central Asian states propagate a much more hard-line approach on counter-radicalisation, by banning beards and hijabs, while China’s re-education internment camps in Xinjiang have raised questions about human rights. The success or failure of each of these approaches must be studied before deciding their applicability elsewhere.
  • Fifth, the world community must address contradictions in the War on Terror. For 20 years, the world has failed to agree on a common definition of terrorism at the United Nations. This has held up the passage of the Indian-sponsored proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. Despite the fact that Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar has been targeting Indians incessantly for years, they must ask why China allowed his UN Security Council designation as a global terrorist only after mentions of his attacks in India were removed. They must ask why the U.S. is focused on billing Iran the “world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism”, while states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that have funded and sheltered Islamist terror groups are still treated as “frontline allies” on terror. And why, despite all their resources and expertise, the alliance of the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand that share global intelligence was unable to see the impending threat in Sri Lanka. Unless the world is truly united on the issue and resolves such contradictions, the global War on Terror will only be as strong as its weakest link.
  

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