News (Text)


When:
October 25, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2018-10-25T01:00:00+05:30
2018-10-25T01:15:00+05:30

NEWS

25 OCTOBER 2018 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

Nageswara Rao to head CBI; Verma, Asthana sent on leave

2.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

CVC cites Asthana’s ‘secret note’ against Verma

3.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

Overnight decision, Alok Verma tells SC

4.

GS II: SOCIAL –WOMEN & CHILDREN

Centre sets up GoM on sexual harassment

5.

GS II: POLITY – GOVERNANCE

One dies at launch of Shivaji statue work

6.

GS II: GOVERNANCE

Lokayukta from Feb., T.N. tells SC

7.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT -POLLUTION

SC bans sale of BS-IV vehicles from 2020

8.

GS III: DEFENCE

Israel, India sign $777 mn missile deal

9.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

‘Justice will prevail in Khashoggi case’

10.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Truck industry fears IL&FS ‘backlash’

11.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

The downside of medical crowdfunding

12.

GS III: S&T – HEALTH

Cell-sized robots can be used to detect diseases

GS II: POLITY – CBI

Nageswara Rao to head CBI; Verma, Asthana sent on leave

  • In an overnight operation, CBI Director Alok Verma and his deputy, Special Director Rakesh Asthana, were dramatically divested of their powers and Joint Director M. Nageswara Rao was given interim charge of the premier investigating agency.
  • Mr. Verma was leading an investigation into the alleged wrongdoings by Mr. Asthana.
  • Hours later, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that the changes had been made to ensure the CBI’s credibility.
  • Independent probe
  • He said an independent probe, which would be supervised by the Central Vigilance Commission, would decide on the allegations and counter-allegations levelled by Mr. Verma and Mr. Asthana against each other.
  • Several officers who were working closely with Mr. Verma also received their marching orders on a day of dramatic developments, unprecedented in the history of the CBI.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

CVC cites Asthana’s ‘secret note’ against Verma

  • The late-night order of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), stripping CBI Director Alok Verma of all charges mentions a “top secret note” by Special Director Rakesh Asthana that a key figure in the Moin Qureshi case had paid a bribe of Rs. 2 crore to the Director.
  • The same allegation was also part of a complaint forwarded by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha on July 31 to the CVC.
  • The CVC said the Director had created “wilful obstructions” in the functioning of the commission, which is a constitutional body and was “non-cooperative and non-compliant.”
  • The three complaints forwarded by the Cabinet Secretary on July 31, all pertaining to Mr. Verma are allegations that he received Rs. 2 crore bribe in the Moin Qureshi case, that he allegedly pressured officers not to conduct search at the premises of Lalu Prasad and other serious allegations regarding the functioning of the CBI.
  • The CVC said in its order that “the Director, CBI, was not cooperating in making available the records and files sought by it” and he was served three separate notices to “produce files and documents before September 14.”
  • The Personnel Ministry’s order divesting Mr. Asthana of all charges doesn’t mention the corruption cases lodged against him. It says the circumstances for such “extraordinary and unprecedented” situation should be inquired into independently.
  • “The recent developments with regard to various actions taken by Director/Special Director of the CBI have also become a subject matter of critical and negative public debate which has the serious potential of eroding the trust and faith which the CBI enjoys,” the Ministry order said.
  • Mr. Verma has moved Supreme Court against the said order.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

Overnight decision, Alok Verma tells SC

  • Senior IPS officer Alok K. Verma told the Supreme Court that the decision to remove him as CBI Director was taken overnight by the Union government and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
  • Mr. Verma hinted that the present predicament might be the result of “certain investigations” into “high functionaries.”
  • “The CBI is expected to function independently and autonomously. There are bound to be occasions when certain investigations into high functionaries do not take the direction that may be desirable to the government,” Mr. Verma said in his petition, hours after the government and the CVC issued the orders.
  • In an urgent oral mentioning before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as soon as the court assembled in the morning,Mr. Verma said the treatment meted out to him violated his fundamental rights and amounted to a blot on the CBI’s independence.
  • In his petition, Mr. Verma said the “details of many cases which have led to the present circumstances are extremely sensitive.”
  • He did not want to put the details in his pleadings, but was ready to submit them to the court. “Not all influence exerted by the political government would be found explicitly or in writing. More often than not, it is tacit, and requires considerable courage to withstand,” he said.
  • The Supreme Court has to examine whether the government and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) can unilaterally remove the CBI Director on the assumption that the move will restore public faith in the country’s premier investigative agency.
  • The CVC and the government quote from the Central Vigilance Commission Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act to show they can exercise “superintendence and control” over the agency. They say their decision was taken in an “extraordinary and unprecedented” situation.
  • Section 4(1) of the DSPE Act allows CVC to supervise investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • The DSPE Act gives the Centre the power of superintendence over the CBI “in all other matters.”
  • Section 4(1) is again echoed in Section 8 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act. These provisions allow the commission to exercise superintendence over the CBI and give directions in relation to the investigation of corruption cases.
  • But the moot point is whether these provisions allow the government and the commission to strip the CBI Director of his job.
  • In this regard, legal experts refer to Section 4B(2) of the DSPE Act, which mandates that the CBI Director cannot be “transferred” without the previous consent of a high-power committee chaired by the Prime Minister.
  • Firstly, they argue, the CBI Director is appointed on the recommendation of this committee which has the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India as members.
  • Relieving the CBI chief of his post would, as a natural corollary, require taking the consent of this committee.

GS II: SOCIAL –WOMEN & CHILDREN

Centre sets up GoM on sexual harassment

  • The Centre established a Group of Ministers to recommend measures to effectively implement the law against sexual harassment at the workplace and to strengthen the legal and institutional framework in response to the #MeToo campaign.
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh will head the GoM, which includes Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
  • The GoM will come up with a comprehensive plan within three months and devise ways to ensure its time-bound implementation, an official statement said.
  • A panel of legal luminaries, recommended by Ms. Gandhi on the lines of the Justice Verma Committee, has been quietly junked.
  • Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar had resigned recently after several journalists accused him of misconduct and harassment when they worked with him in different media organisations.

GS II: POLITY – GOVERNANCE

One dies at launch of Shivaji statue work

  • Tragedy marred the inauguration of work on the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue in the Arabian Sea, after a boat carrying political workers to the venue capsized.
  • The boat hit a rock near Prongs lighthouse, roughly 2.6 km from Nariman Point.
  • One person, identified as Siddesh Pawar, 20, died in the accident, and firemen removed his body from the capsized boat late in the evening with the help of naval divers.
  • The administration had invited a number of dignitaries, including Maharashtra’s Chief Secretary, senior officials, public representatives and journalists, for the inaugural ceremony, which was cancelled after the accident.
  • Six boats were arranged to transport people from the Gateway of India.

GS II: GOVERNANCE

Lokayukta from Feb., T.N. tells SC

  • The Tamil Nadu government gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that the office of Lokayukta will start to function from February 2019.
  • The State’s assurance came after a Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took a stern view of the non-appointment of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • “All you have to do is to appoint a retired judge as Lokayukta… problems may be many, but the issue is you do not seem to want a Lokayukta,” Justice Gogoi snubbed the State governments.
  • West Bengal informed the court that the Lokayukta would be functional from January 1.
  • Meanwhile, Telangana submitted that it would appoint a Lokayukta within three months of the formation of a new government.
  • The Union Territory of Puducherry submitted that it would send its Lokayukta Bill for approval to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • In March 2018, the court had asked 11 States to explain the five-year delay in appointment of anti-corruption ombudsman Lokayukta and Uplokayukta.
  • It had found that several States have not appointed Lokayuktas despite the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act coming into existence in 2013.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT -POLLUTION

SC bans sale of BS-IV vehicles from 2020

  • The Supreme Court banned the sale and registration of motor vehicles conforming to the emission standard Bharat Stage-IV in the entire country from April 1, 2020.
  • The country will have to shift to the cleaner Bharat- VI fuel from April 1, 2020.
  • Bharat Stage (BS) emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
  • The BS-IV norms have been enforced across the country since April 2017.
  • In 2016, the Centre had announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.
  • The apex court said there cannot be any compromise on the health of citizens and this has to take precedence over the “greed” of a few automobile manufacturers who want to stretch the timeline.

GS III: DEFENCE

Israel, India sign $777 mn missile deal

  • Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a $777 mn deal with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to supply additional Barak-8 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) systems for seven warships of the Indian Navy.
  • It is being co-developed by the DRDO in India and IAI, and will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.
  • IAI’s partnership with India dates many years back and has culminated in joint system development and production.
  • The total orders for LRSAM systems have crossed over $6 billion.
  • The LRSAM can intercept aerial targets up to a range of 80 km.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

‘Justice will prevail in Khashoggi case’

  • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince denounced the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi as a “heinous crime”, insisting that the kingdom was cooperating with Turkish authorities and “justice will prevail”.
  • Saudi leaders have denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on October 2, pushing responsibility down the chain of command.
  • But the kingdom is under mounting international pressure over the killing amid U.S. accusations of a monumental cover-up by the kingdom.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Truck industry fears IL&FS ‘backlash’

  • A looming cash crunch in the non-banking financial sector, following the debt pile-up being faced by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), is the “biggest” worry for the truck industry.
  • The crisis began when IL&FS defaulted on a short-term loan from SIDBI two months ago.
  • This was followed by a series of defaults that led to a ratings downgrade. IL&FS Financial Services, a 100% subsidiary of IL&FS, has also defaulted on loans worth Rs. 440.46 crore since September 12.
  • The IL&FS funds long-term projects, of over 10 years, but its borrowings are of a lesser duration, which widens the asset-liability gap.
  • “Currently, there is stress in the NBFC sector linked to all these churns starting with IL&FS. And because of that, the refinancing of housing loan companies like Dewan Housing and other big companies, who are active in infrastructure funding, are not able to raise money. If they are not able to raise money, how will they finance,” an expert said.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

The downside of medical crowdfunding

  • Online appeals to help sick people by raising money for unfounded and sometimes dangerous treatments and purported cures bring in millions of dollars each year, researchers have warned.
  • The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at crowdfunding activity from 2015 to 2017 and “identified more than 1,000 campaigns that raised nearly $6.8 million.”
  • “This money is wasted at best and harmful at worst,” researchers wrote on the site healthaffairs.org.
  • Four crowdfunding sites, including the most well-known, GoFundMe, collected the money.
  • Researchers focused on homoeopathic or naturopathic cancer treatments, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for brain injury, stem cell therapies for brain and spinal cord injury and long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme Disease.
  • The study was limited in scope by focusing only on these five treatments and four crowdfunding platforms.

GS III: S&T – HEALTH

Cell-sized robots can be used to detect diseases

  • MIT scientists have developed a method to mass produce robots no bigger than a cell that could be used to monitor conditions inside an oil or gas pipeline, or to search out disease while floating through the bloodstream.
  • The key to making such tiny devices, which the team calls “syncells” (short for synthetic cells), in large quantities lies in controlling the natural fracturing process of atomically-thin, brittle materials.
  • The process, called “autoperforation”, directs the fracture lines so that they produce miniscule pockets of a predictable size and shape.
  • Embedded inside these pockets are electronic circuits and materials that can collect data, according to a study published in the journal Nature Materials.
  • The system, developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S., uses a two-dimensional form of carbon called graphene, which forms the outer structure of the tiny syncells.

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