06 APRIL 2021
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.
|1.||GS III: S&T – SPACE||SC to take up report on ISRO frame-up|
|2.||GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY||Supreme Court frowns on interim heads for CBI|
|3.||GS III: AGRICULTURE||Farm unions protest direct payment order issued by FCI|
|4.||GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE||Railways completes arch closure of Chenab bridge|
|5.||GS III: DEFENCE||‘INS Viraat now private property of ship-breaker’|
|6.||GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA||Jordon prince has restrictions placed on his movement|
|7.||GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS||Manufacturing PMI dips to 7-month low|
GS III: S&T – SPACE
SC to take up report on ISRO frame-up
- The Centre has put its weight behind a report filed by a three-member committee chaired by former Supreme Court judge, Justice D.K. Jain, tasked to unravel rogue officials responsible for the infamous Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) “frame-up” case of 1994 that destroyed the life and reputation of Nambi Narayanan, one of the country’s prominent space scientists.
- The Centre has applied to the top court, urging it to accept on record the inquiry report submitted by the Justice Jain Committee and take suitable action on the suggestions made against the “erring officials”. The court may take up the case next week.
- Police had accused him of passing on to Pakistan documents and drawings relating to Viking/Vikas engine technology, cryogenic engine technology and PSLV flight data/drawings.
- The Supreme Court had dismissed the case in 2018.
GS II: POLITY – JUDICIARY
Supreme Court frowns on interim heads for CBI
- The Supreme Court told the government that interim appointments to the post of CBI Director cannot go on.
- The remark came during the hearing of a petition filed by Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, objecting to the appointment of Praveen Sinha as interim CBI Director following the retirement of Rishi Kumar Shukla on February 2.
- The petition said the government had failed to appoint a regular Director through the high-power selection committee of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Leader of Opposition.
- The Common Cause has argued that an interim appointment through an executive order was not envisaged in the statutory scheme of the 1946 Act. The CBI Director is a sensitive post. The Director is the final authority in the organisation.
- The agency should function independently outside the pale of the Executive or political powers. The NGO said this was exactly why a high-powered committee selects the CBI Director.
- The petition also highlighted the “determined efforts” of the Supreme Court in the past to “enhance the functional autonomy of the CBI and limit the extent of executive discretion in the matter if appointment of this key functionary”.
- It also urged the court to direct the introduction of a mechanism to ensure that the process of selection of CBI Director is completed one or two months in advance of the retirement of the incumbent.
GS III: AGRICULTURE
Farm unions protest direct payment order issued by FCI
- Recent orders from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) have led to a new flashpoint in the ongoing farmers protests, with farm unions warning that the Centre’s insistence on direct payment and tenancy documentation could derail the crop procurement process.
- Farmers demanded an immediate withdrawal of the recent orders.
- “The government should roll back the provision of direct payment to the bank account. Implementing it in haste can lead to many complex problems that will exclude so many farmers from getting their price of the crop,” said an SKM letter to the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs.
- The FCI has insisted that direct payment to farmers’ bank accounts, bypassing the powerful arhatiyas or commission agents, will lead to greater transparency and accountability.
- Since arhatiyas play a key role in the Punjab and Haryana farm ecosystem by providing farm loans, the move has been opposed by a large section of farmers, as well as the Punjab government.
- Another FCI order stipulates that tenant farmers and sharecroppers must produce a jamabandhi, or legal agreement proving that they have the right to till leased land, in order to get paid for procured crops.
- Thousands of sharecroppers do not have such agreements and will be hit hard by this move..
- The FCI’s fresh proposals to tighten quality requirements for wheat and paddy procurement from the next marketing season are also being opposed.
- At a broader level, farmers connected their issues with the FCI with their existing demands to repeal the farm laws and enact a legal guarantee for procurement of all crops and minimum support prices.
GS III: INFRASTRUCTURE
Railways completes arch closure of Chenab bridge
- The Railways said it had completed the arch closure of the 1315m Chenab bridge, the world’s highest railway bridge.
- Terming it one of the biggest civil engineering challenges faced by any project in India, the Railways added that at 359m above the river bed level, the bridge would be 35 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- The Chenab bridge is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL) and completion of the steel arch is an important construction milestone.
- Most difficult part
- “The arch consists of steel boxes, which will be filled with concrete to improve stability. The bridge is being built at a cost of ₹1,486 crore and can withstand high
GS III: DEFENCE
‘INS Viraat now private property of ship-breaker’
- INS Viraat, the Navy’s decomissioned aircraft carrier, has become the “private property” of a ship-breaker who has already torn down 40% of its body, chiefly for scrap, the Supreme Court told a private company, that wants to turn the vessel into a maritime museum-cum-adventure centre.
- On February 10, the court had ordered a stay on the process of dismantling the ship. The carrier was bought by the Gujarat-based Shree Ram Group, a ship-breaking firm, in a bid. The 67-year-old iconic warship was towed to the breaking yard after over three decades’ service in the Navy.
- The HC had asked the government to take a call. But the government had maintained a non-commital tone and asked Envitech to approach the Shree Ram Group with a proposal to re-purchase the ship.
GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA
Jordon prince has restrictions placed on his movement
- Jordan’s Prince Hamzah, accused of a “wicked” plot against his elder half-brother King Abdullah II, has struck a defiant tone, insisting he will not obey orders restricting his movement.
- The government has accused Prince Hamzah of involvement in a seditious conspiracy to “destabilise the kingdom’s security”, placed him under house arrest and detained at least 16 more people.
- But 41-year-old Hamzah, who says he has been ordered to stay inside his Amman palace, vowed he would defy limits on his movement and communications.
- Prince Hamzah — a former Crown Prince who was stripped of that title by King Abdullah in 2004 — has emerged as a vocal critic of the monarchy, accusing Jordan’s leadership of corruption, nepotism and authoritarian rule.
- Prince Hamza denied being involved in any “nefarious” plot, but said he had been placed under house arrest, with his phone and Internet cut, by Jordan’s military chief, General Youssef Huneiti
- The crisis has laid bare divisions in a country usually seen as a bulwark of stability in West Asia.
- Washington, major Gulf powers, Egypt and the Arab League were all quick to pledge their support for King Abdullah and all his steps to ensure stability.
GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS
Manufacturing PMI dips to 7-month low
- India’s factory activity grew at its weakest pace in seven months in March as renewed lockdowns to curtail a resurgence in COVID-19 cases dampened domestic demand and output, a private survey showed, forcing firms to cut headcount again.
- Last week, the Indian government advised States to try and control the rapid spread of the virus. Tighter restrictions on activity suggest factories could be in for a tough April.
- Despite foreign orders growing at a faster pace in March, a sub-index tracking overall demand declined to its lowest since August 2020. Output also grew at its weakest pace in seven months.
- Although Asia’s third-largest economy was predicted to grow at a faster pace this fiscal year than previously thought, according to a Reuters poll published last week, a significant majority of economists said a surge in coronavirus cases was the biggest risk to the outlook.
- After a year-long spree of job cuts, factories intensified the rate of lay-offs to its strongest in six months in March.
- Both input and output prices increased at a slower pace last month, signalling overall inflation that accelerated to a three-month high in February might ease and stay within the RBI’s inflation target of 2-6%.
- That would help the central bank maintain its accommodative policy stance to support economic growth but optimism about the year ahead waned.