News (Text)


When:
December 1, 2016 @ 1:00 am
2016-12-01T01:00:00+05:30
2016-12-01T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

 1 DECEMBER 2016

Sr. No.

Topic

News

 1.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-PAKISTAN

Major hostage situation was narrowly averted in Nagrota

 2.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

SC makes national anthem mandatory in cinema halls

 3.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Siberia birds make Chambal sanctuary their winter abode

 4.

GS III: ECONOMY – DEMONETISATION

Route all wages via bank accounts: Govt.

 5.

GS III: ECONOMY- DEMONETISATION

Cap on Jan Dhan withdrawal

 6.

GS III: ECONOMY- DEMONETISATION

Naidu-led CMs’ panel formed

 7.

GS III: ECONOMY

Agriculture spurs GDP growth to 7.3%

8.

GS III: ECONOMY

Core sector growth accelerates to 6.6%

9.

GS III: ECONOMY

Trade costs of India remain high: UN body

10.

GS III: S&T – SPACE

Thousands lose homes to China’s huge telescope

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-PAKISTAN

Major hostage situation was narrowly averted in Nagrota

  • A valiant fight put up by two groups of soldiers helped avoid a major hostage crisis as the three terrorists stormed into an Army installation at Nagrota near Jammu on 29 November, official sources said, a day after they lost seven soldiers in the gunfight.
  • Security agencies ruled out that the three militants had freshly infiltrated into the country. They believed that they may have been in and around the target area with the help of local sympathisers.
  • The attack site is around 65 km from the International Border (IB) and the Valley is over 250 km away.

GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY

SC makes national anthem mandatory in cinema halls

  • The Supreme Court ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the national anthem before every screening even as all those present have to “stand up to show respect.”
  • Also, it ordered that all doors in a cinema hall should remain closed to prevent any kind of disturbance when the anthem is played.
  • The practice, according to the court, will “instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.”
  • Cinemas should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played, a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy directed.
  • The playing of the anthem, the Bench said, is to be seen as an opportunity for the public to express their “love for the motherland.”
  • The Bench said there was no space for the “perception of individual rights” in this issue.
  • It also referred to Article 51 (A) of the Indian Constitution to contend that it was the duty of every person to show respect when the anthem was played.
  • The order came on a writ petition by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in October. The petition, which referred to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971, claimed that the “national anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law.
  • The court banned the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and ordered there should not be dramatisation of the anthem or its inclusion as part of any “variety show”. The court ordered that the anthem or part of it should not be printed or displayed in places “disgraceful” to its status. It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the anthem.
  • The petition had not asked the court to direct the anthem to be played in movie halls. Instead, it had focused on the commercial exploitation of the anthem.
  • The order, however did not elaborate why movie halls were particularly chosen as venues to instill nationalism.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Siberia birds make Chambal sanctuary their winter abode

  • Exotic winged visitors from different parts of the world are descending in droves to the Chambal National Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to avoid cold-climes in central Asia and souther Europe.
  • Migratory birds of multiple hues from Siberia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Tibet and North India are coming to the sanctuary.
  • The sanctuary is spread over an area of 427 sq km, including ravines on the sides of Chambal river.
  • The winged creatures start coming to Chambal in the last week of October and return by March end.

GS III: ECONOMY – DEMONETISATION

Route all wages via bank accounts: Govt.

  • The Centre has asked all employers and contractors to ensure that wages are paid to all employees, including casual and contract workers, through cheques or electronic transfers into a bank account.
  • The Chief Labour Commissioner, under the Ministry of Labour and Employmenthas also asked firms to get bank accounts opened for all those workers who do not have one already, and report on the compliance status with the details of the new bank accounts opened by December 2, 2016.
  • Stressing that it is not against the law to pay wages in cash, industry representatives expressed concern over the directive, which is to be implemented even for November salaries, and said this could lead to possible harassment of businesses by labour inspectors.
  • “If a beneficiary says he doesn’t have a bank account, we still have to pay wages due to them for their work in November. The government must recognise that it is not against the law to pay in cash and migrant workers who move from one project site to another, for instance, are not keen to open an account in one specific bank branch,” Mr. Bhargava said.
  • Instead, the government could have allowed firms to execute this plan till the end of December, as it is not practical to expeditiously open bank accounts for casual and migrant workers, he said. Separately, industry has concerns about paying all wages by cheque, since they don’t usually pay any social security benefits like provident fund and gratuity to such casual workers.

GS III: ECONOMY- DEMONETISATION

Cap on Jan Dhan withdrawal

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to limit cash withdrawals from Jan Dhan accounts at Rs. 10,000 per month to avoid misuse.
  • While full KYC-compliant account holders can withdraw Rs. 10,000 in a month, partial KYC-compliant account holders can withdraw only Rs. 5,000.
  • “The branch managers may allow further withdrawals beyond Rs. 10,000 (for full KYC accounts) within the current applicable limits only after ascertaining the genuineness of such withdrawals and duly documenting the same on bank’s record,” the RBI said.
  • Following the withdrawal of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denomination currency notes, regular account holders are allowed to withdraw Rs. 24,000 per week.
  • There has been a surge of deposits in Jan Dhan accounts following the withdrawal which came into effect from the midnight of November 9.

GS III: ECONOMY- DEMONETISATION

Naidu-led CMs’ panel formed

  • In keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exhortation for a campaign to promote a cashless or at least a “less cash” economyto ensure that digital fingerprints of most transactions are available, the government constituted a committee of chief ministers representing different political parties.
  • According to a statement from the Government, the main mandate of the committee is to “examine and implement measures to execute digital payment systems to promote transparency, financial inclusion and ensure a healthy financial ecosystem”.
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will be heading the committee that includes CMs of Odisha, Maharashtra, Puducherry, and Sikkim: Naveen Patnaik, Devendra Fadnavis, V. Narayanasamy, and Pawan Chamling.
  • Vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya has also been added as a member of the committee.
  • Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant will be the member secretary,
  • Former chief of Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Janmejaya Sinha, Rajesh Jain, managing director of netCore, Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSpirit and Jayant Verma, professor at the IIM, Ahmedabad have been roped in as special invitees.
  • The terms of reference include “identifying global best practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payment and examine the possibility of adoption of these global standards in the Indian context. It will also identify measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the system of digital payments like cards (Debit, Credit and pre-paid), Digital-wallets/E-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), banking apps etc. and shall broadly indicate the roadmap to be implemented in one year.”

 

 

 

GS III: ECONOMY

Agriculture spurs GDP growth to 7.3%

  • GDP growth accelerated in the second quarter of this financial year to 7.3 per cent on the back of a stronger performance in the agriculture sector, official data released showed
  • Gross value added (GVA) for the second quarter grew by 7.1 per cent.
  • While GDP growth quickened in the second quarter from the 7.1 per cent seen in the April-June quarter, GVA growth slowed from the 7.3 per cent registered in that period.
  • Experts, however, predict that the next two quarters of the year will see subdued growth even as government officials declined to comment on the short-term future citing unavailability of data on the effect of demonetisation on the economy.
  • Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, however, highlighted some cause for optimism.
  • Nominal GDP growth picked up a fair amount, accelerating from 10.4 per cent in the first quarter to 12.1 per cent in the second quarter, showing some signs of the underlying strength of the economy,” Mr. Subramanian said.

Sectoral growth:

  • The agriculture sector buoyed overall growth, registering a 3.3 per cent GVA growth rate in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 1.8 per cent in the previous quarter and 2 per cent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • Agriculture did a little better than last year, largely due to the improved monsoon.
  • The manufacturing sector saw a significant slowdown in the growth of its gross value added, registering a growth of 7.1 per cent in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 9.1 per cent in the first quarter, and 9.2 per cent in Q2 of 2015-16.
  • The mining and quarrying sector contracted by 1.5 per cent in Q2 compared with a contraction of 0.4 per cent in the first quarter and a growth of 5 per cent in Q2 of 2015-16. The contraction this year was mostly due to the base effect.
  • “Throughout, mining and quarrying has come in negative. Please understand this is on the back of a very sharp increase in mining and quarrying activity in 2015-16.”
  • “Private investment is down substantially, which needs to be watched,” he said. “And some of the growth in GDP is on the strength of government spending.”
  • Gross fixed capital formation, a proxy for private sector investment, was only 29 per cent of GDP in Q2 of this financial year as compared with 32.9 per cent in the same quarter of 2015-16.
  • Government final consumption expenditure, on the other hand, was 13 per cent of GDP in the second quarter of this financial year compared with 12.1 per cent in the previous year.
  • Growth continues to be driven by consumption expenditure and higher spending by the government to aid recovery.

Fiscal deficit

  • A separate data release by the government showed that the fiscal deficit in October stood at 79.3 per cent of Budget Estimates down from 83.9 per cent in September.
  • Total revenue receipts as of October accounted for 50.7 per cent of Budget Estimates for the full year, up from 41.2 per cent in September.Total expenditure as of October accounted for 58.2 per cent of Budget Estimates up from 52 per cent in September.

(For Fiscal Deficit explanation refer to 21st November 2016 Editorials video)

GS III: ECONOMY

Core sector growth accelerates to 6.6%

  • The core sector posted a year-on-year growth of 6.6 per cent in October helped by robust refinery and steel output.
  • The pace of growth of the eight industries, comprising close to 38 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was the fastest since 8.5 per cent in April and an acceleration from September’s 5 per cent.
  • In October, five of the eight sectors registered an annual increase in production.
  • Coal production, fertiliser sector, crude oil and natural gas output contracted.
  • Electricity generation continues to suffer possibly on account of financial issues with the discoms.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) :

  • It is an index for India which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mining, electricity and manufacturing.
  • The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.
  • The current base year is 2011–2012.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) six weeks after the reference month ends.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • These are Electricity, steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilisers.

GS III: ECONOMY

Trade costs of India remain high: UN body

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said international and intra-regional trade costs of India remained higher compared with the trade costs of best-performing economies in Asia and the Pacific, although a declining trend has been observed since 2009.

FDI inflows:

  • However, it said in addition to India’s robust economic growth and large domestic market, the Government’s “Make in India” initiative and easing of FDI regulations for about 15 sectors including aviation, defence and pharmaceuticals may contribute to the FDI attractiveness of India.
  • On the other hand, overseas investment from India contracted considerably by 36 per cent, which may reflect FDI diversion as Indian investors start to invest more at home than overseas, ESCAP said in its recently released Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016.
  • FDI inflows to India expanded by 10 per cent on average during 2010-2015, while in 2015 inflows recorded an even stronger expansion at 27.8 per cent, which was significantly higher than the Asia-Pacific region’s average 5.6 per cent, ESCAP said.
  • The services, construction development, computer software and hardware, and telecommunications sectors attracted the highest investments, it added.

Exports shrank:

  • Asia-Pacific trade flows were wavering amid sluggish global economic and trade growth, downward movement of world commodity prices and an uncertain policy environment, the report said.
  • In 2015, Indian goods exports shrank by 17.2 per centwhich was close to twice as much as the Asia-Pacific region decline of 9.7 per cent, it said.
  • However, it added that India was the largest partner with several economies in South Asia, such as Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Since India is the fastest-growing emerging economy, it is somewhat expected to start filling the void in demand for intraregional exports that will emerge with the rebalancing of China’s trade patterns, the report said.
  • Rebounding somewhat, exports from Asia-Pacific are expected to increase by 4.5 per cent and imports by 6.5 per cent in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific in 2017, but the Report forecasts more modest growth in exports and imports in volume terms, at 2.2 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively, ESCAP said in a statement.

Restrictive policies

  • A worrying trend on another front is the increased usage of restrictive trade policies, especially non-tariff measures, within the Asia-Pacific region, which is partly driven by past distortive trade measures and current excess capacity in several key sectors, ESCAP said.
  • Additionally, the region is seeing a proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTA), with Asia and the Pacific rim contributing to almost 63 per cent of world PTAscurbing a momentum towards region-wide free trade, it added.

GS III: S&T – SPACE

Thousands lose homes to China’s huge telescope

  • Humanity’s best bet at detecting aliens is a giant silver Chinese dish the size of 30 football fields— one that simultaneouslyshowcases Beijing’s abilities to deploy cutting-edge technologies and ignore objectors’ rights as it seeks global prominence.
  • The Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in the country’s southwest, which began operations in September 2016 and cost 1.2 billion yuan ($180 million) to build, is the world’s largest radio telescope.
  • Once fully operational, FAST will be able to peer deeper into space than ever before, examining pulsars, dark matter and gravitational waves — and searching for signs of life.
  • But it comes at the cost of forcibly displacing about 9,000 villagers who called the site in Pingtang county their home.
  • Many were outraged at being forced to leave the valley surrounded by forested karst hills and hundreds of families are now suing the government, with some cases being heard this week.

  

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