News (Text)


When:
June 28, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2018-06-28T01:00:00+05:30
2018-06-28T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

28 JUNE 2018 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Trouble brewing in Bihar alliance

2.

GS II: GOVERNANCE – POLICY

‘No-fly list has cut down unruly flyers’

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

Centre may scrap UGC, proposes new regulator

4.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-USA

U.S. postpones 2+2 dialogue with India

5.

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN

Assault survivor, 3 actors quit AMMA

6.

GS I: HISTORY

34 years on, compensation for Blue Star detainees

7.

GS III: DEFENCE

HAL Su-30 aircraft crashes in Nashik

8.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-CHINA

Nepal welcomes ‘2+1’ dialogue mechanism

9.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

How a failing port gave China vital foothold

10.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Rupee tumbles to 19-month low on oil

11.

GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY

Cabinet okays Rs. 2,000-cr. capital infusion for export guarantor across FY2017-20

12.

GS III: ENERGY

Govt. nod for adding 6.5 MMT oil reserves

13.

GS III: S&T – SPACE

Japanese mission reaches far-off asteroid

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

Trouble brewing in Bihar alliance

  • Seat adjustment talks are yet to get under way in Bihar in both the ruling and opposition camps but political turbulence appears clearly indicated in the State after conflicting signals emanated from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
  • Mr. Kumar created a flutter not only with a strongly worded speech on communal violence two days ago, but also because his close aide, Sanjay Singh made a tough statement on seat adjustment in the State for 2019, saying: “If BJP does not want an ally in Bihar it can field its candidates in all 40 Lok Sabha seats.”
  • The JD(U) had, in its earlier stint in the NDA fought 15 Lok Sabha seats while the BJP had fought 25 out of a total of 40 seats from the State.
  • In 2014, after Mr. Kumar walked out of the NDA, the BJP won 22 seats out of the 30 it contested, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) won six out of seven and RLSP won all three seats it contested.
  • The JD(U) had joined the Mahagathbandhan along with RJD. Congress and others which it abruptly left in July 2017.

GS II: GOVERNANCE – POLICY

‘No-fly list has cut down unruly flyers’

  • Incidents involving unruly passengers have seen a dramatic drop ever since the government announced rules for a national no-fly list, according to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.
  • In 2017, the Ministry of Civil Aviation unveiled the first-ever set of guidelines imposing a ban on flying, ranging from three months up to a lifetime, on passengers found guilty of misbehaving inside a plane.
  • So far, only one person — Mumbai-based jeweller Birju Kishore Salla — has been put on the no-fly list and barred from flying for five years by Jet Airways after he left a hijack message in the lavatory of a Mumbai-Delhi flight in October 2017.
  • The domestic airlines in the country collectively urged the government for a no-fly list in the country after an incident in March 2017 involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who hit an Air India staffer with a slipper 25 times for being denied a business class seat in an all-economy plane.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

Centre may scrap UGC, proposes new regulator

  • The government is set to replace the apex higher education regulator, University Grants Commission (UGC), with a higher education commission by repealing the UGC Act, 1951.
  • Setting the ball rolling, the Centre has placed in the public domain a draft Bill for eliciting suggestions from educationists. The draft Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018takes away funding powers from the proposed regulator and gives it powers to ensure academic quality.
  • There is no plan to merge all higher education regulators, as was proposed through a planned agency called HEERA, which was supposed to be put in place as a super regulator.
  • As per the present proposal, the technical education regulator AICTE and the teachers’ education regulator NCTEwill also be reformed on similar lines.
  • The new regime separates the academic and funding aspects of higher education.
  • While HECI will be in charge of ensuring academic quality in universities and colleges, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) – or another mechanism that will be put in place later – will be responsible for funding universities and colleges.
  • Another key feature of the draft legislation is that “the Regulator will have powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and will have the power to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions”, said an MHRD release.
  • Moreover, non-compliance could result in fines or even a jail sentence.
  • Till now, the UGC had no such powers. All it could do was to release a list of bogus institutions and not recognise their degrees.
  • HECI is tasked with the mandate of improving academic standards with specific focus on learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, promote use of educational technology, etc.,” said the release.
  • “It will develop norms for setting standards for opening and closure of institutions, provide for greater flexibility and autonomy to institutions, lay standards for appointments to critical leadership positions at the institutional level irrespective of university started under any law (including State list),” it said.
  • A senior official of the MHRD said UGC staff would be retrained to adapt to the HECI regime, which would be fully digital and do away with file work.
  • The HECI will have a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 12 other members, including ex officio members, eminent academics and a doyen of industry.

 

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-USA

U.S. postpones 2+2 dialogue with India

  • The much anticipated dialogue, between the defence and foreign ministers of India and the United States scheduled for July 2018, has been postponed “for unavoidable reasons”.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs said the message postponing the talks came from the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, even as U.S. President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The talks were postponed earlier once when the previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked to quit by President Trump in March 2018. It was previously scheduled for April 2018.
  • However the latest postponement which is also being considered as cancellation by some quarters comes in the backdrop of growing differences between India and the U.S. over the Iran nuclear deal.
  • In June 2018, External Affairs Minister Swaraj met her French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian where both sides agreed to “maintain” the Iran nuclear deal that allows for global trading with Tehran.
  • The latest reports suggest that the U.S. has given a November 2018 deadline to Indian and Chinese companies that continue to trade with Iran disregarding U.S. Treasury’s sanctions.

 

 

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN

Assault survivor, 3 actors quit AMMA

  • In a move that has shaken up the Malayalam film industry, four members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), including the actor who was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted, have resigned from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA).
  • The move was in protest against the organisation’s decision to reinstate actor Dileep, who was ousted from the organisation after he was named as an accused in the case.

GS I: HISTORY

34 years on, compensation for Blue Star detainees

  • The detainees who were arrested and kept in a Jodhpur prison following the Army operation to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in 1984 will finally get some relief with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh scheduled to hand over compensation money to them.
  • The Chief Minister will distribute cheques totalling Rs. 4.5 crore to 40 of the detainees.
  • Around 300 people were arrested and detained in the Jodhpur jail in June 1984 in the wake of Operation Blue Star, and were later released in three batches, between March 1989 and July 1991.
  • Of these, 224 had appealed for compensation in the lower court, alleging wrongful detention and torture but they failed to get any relief from the court in 2011.
  • However, 40 of the them went in appeal to the District and Sessions Court, Amritsar, and were awarded Rs. 4 lakh each as compensation with 6% interest (from the date of filing of the appeal to payment of compensation) in April 2017.
  • The court had held the Union and the State governments jointly liable for payment of the compensation, and although the Punjab government had given an undertaking to the court to pay half the amount, the Centre had moved an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order.
  • The Centre’s decision to go in appeal against the compensation award had evoked a strong reaction among the Sikh community and was further likely to lead to a sense of alienation and perceived injustice among the community.

GS III: DEFENCE

HAL Su-30 aircraft crashes in Nashik

  • A Su-30MkI aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) crashed at Nashik in Maharashtra on 27 June 2018. Both the pilots ejected safely.
  • The aircraft was undergoing pre-delivery trials by the manufacturer after which it was to be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • HAL is manufacturing the Su-30 twin engine, air superiority fighters under licence from Russia.
  • A Board of Investigation has been ordered to determine the exact cause of the accident.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-CHINA

Nepal welcomes ‘2+1’ dialogue mechanism

  • Nepali officials are mulling over China’s proposal of a “two-plus-one” mechanism, where and New Delhi can jointly hold a dialogue with a third country in South Asia.
  • “We welcome the two-plus-one format as we are confident that such a dialogue will be conducted in a spirit of equality and mutual respect,” said a Nepali Minister.
  • The joint statement issued at the end of June 2018 visit to China of Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli stressed that China-Nepal ties “maintained the momentum of healthy development on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which sets a model of harmonious coexistence between countries of different sizes and social systems”.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

How a failing port gave China vital foothold

  • Every time Sri Lanka’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious Hambantota port project, the answer was yes.
  • Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work.
  • Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused.
  • Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa.
  • Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Co., one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by failing, as predicted.
  • With tens of thousands of ships passing by along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the port drew only 34 ships in 2012And then the port became China’s.
  • The transfer gave China control of territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of a rival, India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.
  • The debt deal also intensified some of the harshest accusations about President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative: that the global investment and lending programme amounts to a debt trap for vulnerable countries around the world, fuelling corruption and autocratic behaviour in struggling democracies.
  • Indian officials, in particular, fear that Sri Lanka is struggling so much that the Chinese government may be able to dangle debt relief in exchange for its military’s use of assets like the Hambantota port — though the final lease agreement with China forbids military activity there without Sri Lanka’s invitation.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Rupee tumbles to 19-month low on oil

  • The rupee slid to a 19-month low against the dollar as concern that rising crude oil prices could widen the country’s current account deficit and stroke inflation combined with fears of a trade war that could spur capital outflows to weigh the Indian currency down.
  • The rupee fell 0.54%, or 37 paise, against the dollar to settle at 68.61, the currency’s lowest close since November 24, 2016, when it ended at 68.73.
  • The Indian rupee has slumped almost 7% against the dollar so far this year, making it one of Asia’s worst performing currencies.
  • Forex traders said the rupee’s depreciation is in line with other emerging market currencies as the dollar index has strengthened in the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates.
  • “Elevated oil prices are also weighing on rupee as India’s dependence on oil imports is very high. Other factors that are impacting Indian currency are the political uncertainty in the wake of upcoming State elections and the general elections of 2019. This combined with the concerns over earnings outlook has led to FPI [foreign portfolio investor] outflows,” she said.
  • Brent crude futures were 4.9% higher at $77.91 a barrel in late European trade.
  • Concerns about inflation and the fiscal deficit also impacted bond prices with the yield on the 10-year benchmark government bond rising 4 basis points to 7.87%.
  • “On the positive side, the rupee’s weakness should aid our exports amid improving global growth outlook,” Ms. Nitsure said.
  • India enjoys a good cushion of foreign exchange reserves and the RBI is in a good position to control heightened volatility in the currency,” she added.

GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY

Cabinet okays Rs. 2,000-cr. capital infusion for export guarantor across FY2017-20

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a capital infusion of Rs. 2,000 crore into the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) to be infused over the three financial years 2017-20.
  • The break-up of the infusion would be Rs. 50 crore in 2017-18, Rs. 1,450 crore in 2018-19, and Rs. 500 crore in 2019-20.
  • “The infusion would enhance insurance coverage to MSME exports and strengthen India’s exports to emerging and challenging markets like Africa, CIS and Latin American countries,” the government said in a release.
  • “With enhanced capital, ECGC’s underwriting capacity and risk to capital ratio will improve considerably. With a stronger underwriting capacity, ECGC will be in a better position to support Indian exporters to tap new and unexplored markets.”
  • The increased capital infusion would also help ECGC to diversify its product portfolio and provide cost-effective credit insurance to exporters, the government said.
  • “More than 85% of customers benefited by ECGC’s covers are MSMEs. ECGC covers exports to around 200 countries in the world.”
  • Separately, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved the contribution of grant-in-aid of Rs. 1,040 crore to the National Export Insurance Account Trust (NEIA). “The corpus is to be utilised during three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20,” the government said.
  • “An amount of Rs. 440 crore has already been received for the year 2017-18. Rs. 300 crore each will be given to NEIA for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The corpus would strengthen NEIA to support project exports from the country that are of strategic and national importance,” the Centre added.

GS III: ENERGY

Govt. nod for adding 6.5 MMT oil reserves

  • The Cabinet approved the establishment of strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) facilities at two locations —Chandikhol in Odisha, and Padur in Karnataka — with a total capacity of 6.5 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT), which works out to another 12 days of reserves.
  • “The in principle approval is to take up the project under PPP model to reduce budgetary support,” the government said in a release.
  • Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a government-owned special purpose vehicle, has already built underground rock caverns for storing a total 5.33 MMT of crude oil at Vishakhapatnam (1.33 MMT), Mangaluru (1.5 MMT) and Padur (2.5 MMT).
  • “The total 5.33 MMT capacity under Phase-I of the SPR programme is estimated to supply approximately 10 days of India’s crude requirement, according to the consumption data for FY2016-17,” the Centre said.
  • The “additional 6.5 MMT SPR facilities will provide an additional supply of 12 days and is expected to augment India’s energy security.”

GS III: S&T – SPACE

Japanese mission reaches far-off asteroid

  • A Japanese probe, Hayabusa2, has reached Ryugu asteroid 300 million km away to collect information about the birth of the solar system and the origin of life after a more than three-year voyage through deep space.
  • The Hayabusa2 probe successfully settled into an observation position 20 km above the Ryugu asteroid, officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
  • The successful mission came just days before the UN’s International Asteroid Day on June 30, an event to raise awareness about the hazards of an asteroid impact and on how to counter such a threat.
  • Scientists hope to glean clues about what gave rise to life on the earth from samples taken from Ryugu, which is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water.
  • Ryugu — which means “Dragon Palace” in Japanese, a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale — is an asteroid shaped a bit like a spinning top with a rough surface.
  • The Hayabusa2 probe was in good shape and is now ready to start exploring the asteroid over the coming 18 months, JAXA said.
  • The next stage is to identify suitable sites to take samples from once the probe touches down on the asteroid.
  • That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.

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