News (Text)


When:
December 1, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-12-01T11:30:00+05:30
2018-12-01T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS 

1 DECEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: SOCIAL – PROTEST

Oppn. rallies behind farmers

2.

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

Manipur: SC rejects Army officers’ plea

3.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Growth slows to 7.1% on oil, rupee

4.

GS III: CORRUPTION

Coalgate: former Coal Secretary convicted

5.

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN & CHILDREN

Odisha shelter inmates allege sexual assault; raid conducted

6.

GS III: DEFENCE

‘Army not ready for women in combat roles’

7.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Trump defends Russia deal efforts

8.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Fiscal deficit exceeds full-year target in just seven months

9.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Import cover falls to 10.1 months in June

10.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

What’s with the back series GDP data?

GS II: SOCIAL – PROTEST

Oppn. rallies behind farmers

  • Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal shared the stage, for the first time, at Kisan Mukti March, leading a show of Opposition unity in support of the farmers’ demands for fair prices and debt relief.
  • Farmer leaders welcomed the political support as a sign that the agrarian crisis is now on top of the poll agenda in the run-up to the 2019 general election.
  • Thousands of farmers from across the country took to the capital’s streets under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), demanding that the government pass legislation to guarantee remunerative prices and debt relief.
  • Political parties spanning the Opposition spectrum turned up to express support at the protest venue on Parliament Street.

GS II: SOCIAL – RIGHTS

Manipur: SC rejects Army officers’ plea

  • The Supreme Court said that it was not up to the judiciary but the government to devise a mechanism to uphold human rights in the insurgency-hit areas and protect soldiers who served there and acted in the course of duty.
  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit dismissed a petition by 355 Army officers, serving in insurgency-hit areas such as Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern region, against the court’s decision to order a CBI probe into the encounter deaths in Manipur between 2000 and 2012.
  • The officers said the court-monitored investigation and chargesheets had hit the morale of the ranks.
  • The soldiers were “shaken” and feared they would be “persecuted” for doing whatever was necessary to serve their country under extremely tough conditions. The officers urged the court to pause and understand the “realities of the battle field.”
  • “The fact that 350 soldiers of our country have to pray for this is itself unfortunate,” Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta said, expressing the “full support” of the government to the petition.
  • Justice Lalit said that only cases with prima facie evidence supporting the allegations against security personnel were referred to the CBI. “If the CBI finds evidence, the proceedings would go on… A citizen has lost his or her life. Should not human life at least have some value that an investigation is mandated,” Justice Lalit asked the government.

 

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Growth slows to 7.1% on oil, rupee

  • Second-quarter GDP growth slowed to 7.1%, from 8.2% in the preceding three-month period, official estimates released show.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) growth eased to 6.9% in July-September, from 8%.
  • The GDP expansion in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal year was 6.3%, while GVA growth was 6.1%.
  • Economists said while the slowdown was anticipated, given that oil prices had been high and the rupee had weakened against the dollar during the quarter, the actual numbers had surprised on the downside.
  • Analysts expect easing oil prices and the rupee’s recent rebound to boost third-quarter GDP growth.

GS III: CORRUPTION

Coalgate: former Coal Secretary convicted

  • A Delhi court convicted former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta in a corruption case relating to allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal during the previous UPA regime at the Centre.
  • Five others, including one retired and another serving public servant — K.S. Kropha and K.C. Samria — were held guilty of various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code, including Sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
  • C. Gupta, who was the Coal Secretary from December 31, 2005 to November 2008, has already been convicted in two other cases of coal block allocation in which he has been sentenced to jail for two and three years respectively. He is out on bail in both the cases.
  • Kropha, who was then the Joint Secretary, Ministry of coal, retired in December 2017 as the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya. He has also been convicted and sentenced to two years in another coal block allocation scam and is out on bail.
  • Samria then held the rank of Director in the Ministry of Coal and is now working as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Minority Affairs. He has been convicted and sentenced to two years’ jail term in another case and is out on bail.
  • The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Moira and Madhujore (North and South) coal blocks in West Bengal to Vikash Metals and Power Limited. An FIR was lodged by the CBI in September 2012.
  • VMPL, its managing director Vikash Patni and authorised signatory Anand Mallick were also convicted.
  • Prosecutors said Gupta has been accused in 12 cases of alleged irregularities in the allocation scam.

 

GS II: SOCIAL – WOMEN & CHILDREN

Odisha shelter inmates allege sexual assault; raid conducted

  • Inmates of a shelter home being run by an NGO at Beltikiri in Dhenkanal district of Odisha have accused Simanchal Nayak, the person in charge of it, of repeated sexual assault on minor girls living on the premises.
  • The inmates made the allegation following a raid conducted by a joint team comprising Child Development Project Officer, members of Child Welfare Committee and police, on the shelter home.
  • The CWC delegation found that the shelter home, being run by NGO Good News India, was established in violation of the Juvenile Justice Act.
  • The shelter home has not been registered as per JJ Act. As many as 81 inmates have been given residential accommodation. Of them 47 are girls.

GS III: DEFENCE

‘Army not ready for women in combat roles’

  • Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that while the force would take in increasing numbers of woman officers in the coming years, it wasn’t ready yet to cast them in combat roles.
  • “You will see an increase in the role of women in the armed forces. But we are not yet ready for them in front-line combat roles. Facilities for that need to be created from within and the women need to be prepared to face those kinds of hardships,” he said on the sidelines of the Passing Out Parade of the 135th course at the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla here.
  • The Army Chief said that it was pointless comparing the culture here to that of the Western nations which was much more open. “While we may be [culturally and socially] more open in our big cities, our Army personnel do not come only from the big cities. Large numbers come from the rural areas where the intermingling between genders is still not there,” he said.
  • Rawat, however, pointed out that there were several fields where women could be inducted and said that the Army was contemplating setting up a Permanent Commission for women in the forces.

 

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – USA

Trump defends Russia deal efforts

  • S. President Donald Trump defended his decision to seek a business deal in Russia in 2016 even as he pursued the Republican presidential nomination, calling it “very legal” and “very cool” to keep running his business while campaigning.
  • The U.S. Special Counsel’s Office is investigating Moscow for alleged interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Mr. Trump’s campaign.
  • Russia has denied U.S. intelligence conclusions that it meddled and Mr. Trump has frequently decried the investigation as a “witch hunt”. Both have denied any collusion.
  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has brought charges or secured convictions against more than two dozen Russian nationals and entities, as well as a number of Mr. Trump’s associates, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Fiscal deficit exceeds full-year target in just seven months

  • India’s fiscal deficit in the first seven months of the financial year, at Rs. 6.49 lakh crore, exceeded the budgeted target for the entire year, coming in at 103.9% of that target, according to official data released.
  • The fiscal deficit was 96.1% of the budgeted amount in the same period of the previous year.
  • Net tax receipts were Rs. 6.61 lakh crore in the April-October 2018 period, which is only 44.7% of the budgeted estimates for the year, with just five months to go.
  • Total receipts, at Rs. 8.08 lakh crore, were only 44.4% of the budgeted amount for the year.
  • Total expenditure, on the other hand, stood at Rs. 14.5 lakh crore, which is 59.6% of the budget estimate for the year.
  • India Ratings expects the fiscal deficit for the year to be 3.5% of GDP, higher than the government’s target of 3.3%. The government, however, has repeatedly expressed its commitment to meeting its target.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Import cover falls to 10.1 months in June

  • The adequacy of foreign exchange reserves, as measured by import cover, declined to 10.1 months as on June 2018 compared with March 2018 when it was 10.9 months, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its half yearly report on foreign exchange management.
  • The ratio of short-term debt (original maturity) to reserves, which was 24.1% at end-March 2018, increased to 24.3% at end-June 2018,” the report said adding the ratio of volatile capital flows to reserves increased from 85.3% at end-March 2018 to 86.2% at end-June 2018.
  • The reserves, which stood at $424.54 billion as at end-March 2018, fell to $405.74 billion as at end-June.
  • While the foreign exchange reserves are denominated in U.S. dollar terms, movements in the foreign currency assets occur mainly on account of purchase and sale of foreign exchange by the RBI, income arising out of the deployment of the foreign exchange reserves, among others.
  • The RBI had to intervene in the currency market to slow the pace of fall in the rupee which had depreciated about 15% during the January-October period.

 

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

What’s with the back series GDP data?

  • The government released the GDP growth estimates for previous years based on the new method of calculation and base year it had adopted in 2015.
  • The new data and the manner in which it was released led to criticism from various quarters, including Opposition political parties and economists alike.
  • In 2015, the government adopted a new method for the calculation of the gross domestic product of the country, and also adopted the Gross Value Added measure to better estimate economic activity.
  • Further, the change involved a bringing forward of the base year used for calculations to 2011-12 from the previous 2004-05.
  • However, this had led to the problem of not being able to compare recent data with the years preceding 2011-12.
  • The back series data released provided the earlier years’ data using the new calculations.
  • As even the government concedes, there are a number of ways to calculate the back series data. To arrive at the ‘best’ one, it held numerous consultations with leading economists and statisticians and even delayed the data release once to address all the questions the experts posed.
  • However, the number of options available and the manner in which the data was released also led to criticism and doubt over the method that was finally chosen. Former Chief Statistician of India Pronab Sen pointed out that the fact that the data was released by Niti Aayog led to questions over the credibility of the method chosen.
  • While it was being handled exclusively by the Central Statistics Office, the assumption was that the statistically strongest method would be chosen. Adding Niti Aayog to the equation puts this in doubt, Mr. Sen said, since it brought political considerations into the fray.
  • The new data release shows that GDP growth during the UPA years averaged 6.7% during both UPA-I and UPA-II, compared with the 8.1% and 7.46%, respectively, estimated using the older method. In comparison, the current government has witnessed an average GDP growth rate of 7.35% during the first four years of its term, based on the new method.
  • The new data shows that, contrary to the earlier perception, the Indian economy never graduated to a ‘high growth’ phase of more than 9% in the last decade or so. Former Chief Statistician of India TCA Anant also pointed out that the newer data, especially for the mining and manufacturing sectors, shows that India did not recover from the global financial crisis as quickly as initially thought.
  • The new back series data diverges quite sharply significantly from the estimates made in a draft report released by the National Statistical Commission earlier in 2018, which showed that growth during the UPA years crossed 9% on at least four occasions, and even hit 10.78% in 2010-11. This report pegged the average GDP growth during UPA-I at about 8.4% and UPA-II at 7.7%. The government, however, was quick to clarify that this was just a draft report that used only one of the many methods on offer to estimate the back series, and that it was not the final number.

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