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January 8, 2019 @ 11:30 am
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NEWS

8 JANUARY 2019


Daily Current Affairs based on ‘The Hindu’ newspaper as per the syllabus of UPSC Civil Services Examination

(Prelims and Mains) Complied by Mrs. Bilquees Khatri.


Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

Centre plans 10% quota for the poor

2.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

T.N. Minister gets jail term for rioting

3.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-EUROPE

India secures extradition of bookie

4.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Kerala HC sets 7-day notice period for hartals, strikes

5.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

Naidu demands Rs. 3,715 crore Polavaram dues from Centre

6.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Stretch of Periyar turns rust-red, emits bubbles

7.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Animals begin to arrive at Wayanad sanctuary

8.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Centre okays Citizenship Bill

9.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Citizenship Bill: AGP quits Assam coalition

10.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Leprosy is no longer a ground for divorce

11.

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

SC notice to EC on VVPAT verification

12.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

SC shocked as Section 66A of IT Act is still invoked

13.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Govt. says GDP to grow at 7.2% for FY19

14.

GS III: ECONOMY – STOCKS

SEBI takes steps to bring uniformity in commodity derivatives segment

15.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Essar Global repays Rs. 12,000 cr. loans

16.

GS III: ENERGY

Rs. 40,000 cr. expected from OALP-II auctions

17.

GS III: S&T – INDIAN

Gas hydrates produced under ‘space’ conditions

GS II: SOCIAL – RESERVATION

Centre plans 10% quota for the poor

  • The Union Cabinet approved a Constitution Amendment Bill to provide 10% reservation to the economically backward sections in the general category, a senior government official said.
  • The Bill will also cover those from the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities.
  • The quota will be over and above the existing 50% reservation to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  • The decision, which comes ahead of the general election in April-May, was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Vijay Sampla, Minister of State, Social Justice and Empowerment, said that those who have an annual salary of less than Rs. 8 lakh per year and possess less than 5 acres of land will be able to avail themselves of reservation in educational institutions and jobs.
  • The government is likely to introduce the Bill in the Lok Sabha on the last working day of the winter session.
  • Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution will have to be amended for the implementation of the decision, the Minister said.
  • A nine-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had, in the Indira Sawhney case, capped reservation at 50%.
  • The court had ruled on November 16, 1992, that “clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution speaks of adequate representation and not proportionate representation” and “relaxation can be done in extraordinary situations and while doing so, extreme caution has to be exercised and a special case made out.”
  • According to the 2011 Census, the population of the country was 1.21 billion. The population of the Scheduled Castes was 201.4 million and that of the Scheduled Tribes stood at 104.3 million.

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

T.N. Minister gets jail term for rioting

  • Tamil Nadu’s Youth Welfare and Sports Development Minister P. Balakrishna Reddy, along with 15 others, was convicted and sentenced by a special court to three years’ imprisonment in a case of unlawful assembly and rioting in 1998 in Bagalur village, near Hosur, in Krishnagiri district.
  • The court later suspended the sentences of the 15 persons, allowing them to appeal before the Madras High Court.
  • Reddy resigned from the Cabinet.
  • Reddy, 49, was the Hosur MLA , and began his political career in the BJP. He had also served as chairman of the Hosur municipality.
  • In 1998, over 150 villagers had gathered in front of the Bagalur police station and indulged in rioting, protesting against police inaction in removing illicit arrack units in the area.
  • Reddy was part of the group which damaged public transport buses and set fire to police vehicles, including a jeep.
  • Policemen were also injured in the attack.
  • Reddy was no. 72 among 102 persons accused in the case. A few of them died during the trial in the Krishnagiri court. Over 87 persons were tried before the trial court and the case was transferred recently to the special court in Chennai that deals with cases relating to elected representatives.

GS II: BILATERAL – INDIA-EUROPE

India secures extradition of bookie

  • India secured another legal victory in the U.K. as a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has said that the extradition of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla can proceed, and referred the case to Home Secretary Sajid Javid for a final decision.
  • It complied with a ruling by the High Court in London in 2018, which overturned the verdict of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court discharging him on the basis of concerns over conditions at Tihar Jail.
  • The extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya was ordered in December 2018.
  • Mallya’s case has also been referred to the Home Secretary for a final decision.
  • The Home Secretary will now have two months, from the time the case is passed to him from the court, to decide whether or not Mr. Chawla can be extradited.
  • Under the extradition procedure Mr. Javid has to give consideration to matters such as whether there was a possibility of the death penalty being applied or extradition to a third country (neither of which factors would apply in the Chawla case).

GS II: SOCIAL – UNREST

Kerala HC sets 7-day notice period for hartals, strikes

  • The Kerala High Court has set a seven-day notice period for political parties and individuals to call a hartal and general strike in the State.
  • It said that the notice period would enable citizens to approach the court with their objections and examine the legality of the strike call.
  • It will also provide an opportunity for the State to safeguard the interests of the citizens, the court held.
  • The order was issued by the court while considering a batch of petitions.
  • While the court recognised the fundamental right of those who call for strike to demonstrate their protests, the same cannot be exercised in violation of the fundamental rights of other citizens.
  • The fundamental right of the citizens to life and livelihood would outweigh the fundamental right of persons calling for strikes and hartals, the court said.
  • Those who call for hartals will be held responsible for the loses suffered due to the event, the court held.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

Naidu demands Rs. 3,715 crore Polavaram dues from Centre

  • The record-breaking feat was performed by the Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL) at the Polavaram multipurpose irrigation site where it found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest usage of concrete, 32,315.5 cubic metres within 24 hours.
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu demanded that the Centre release Rs. 3,715 crore dues related to the Polavaram project at the earliest.
  • On the progress of the project, the Chief Minister said the cost, along with the Relief and Rehabilitation, was Rs. 58,000 crore as per the revised estimates.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – POLLUTION

Stretch of Periyar turns rust-red, emits bubbles

  • The stretch of the Periyar which flows by the industrial zone of Eloor-Edayar took on a rust-red hue and erupted in bubbles in some areas.
  • The reddish hue changed into a turbid bronze-brown as the day progressed.
  • Fish catch has decreased, claimed a resident,
  • The Eloor Pollution Control Board’s team conducted a full day’s inspection of all possible industries that could have caused this pollution but could not identify any source for the problem.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Animals begin to arrive at Wayanad sanctuary

  • With the rise in mercury in the Nilgiri Biosphere, the seasonal migration of wild animals from wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) has begun.
  • Mammals such as elephants and gaurs migrate to the sanctuary from the adjacent Bandipur and Nagarhole national parks in Karnataka and the Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu in search of food and water.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Centre okays Citizenship Bill

  • The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 recommended that the Assam government should help settle migrants “especially in places which are not densely populated, thus, causing lesser impact on the demographic changes and providing succour to the indigenous Assamese people”.
  • The Bill paves the way to grant citizenship to six religious minorities — Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014.
  • There has been a strong resistance to the Bill in the BJP-ruled Assam as it would pave the way for giving citizenship, mostly to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, in Assam who came after March 1971, in violation of the Assam Accord of 1985.
  • Asked by the committee about the mechanism to establish religious persecution in a foreign land, the Home Ministry replied, “Inputs from security agencies along with other corroborative evidence in the print/electronic media would help to establish religious persecution in a foreign land.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Citizenship Bill: AGP quits Assam coalition

  • The Asom Gana Parishad decided to snap its two-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam after the Joint Parliamentary Committee submitted its report on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Parliament.
  • However, the AGP’s departure is unlikely to affect the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government as the other regional ally, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), has decided to stick with the BJP.
  • The national party has 61 legislators in the 126-member Assembly. The majority mark is 64, and with the BPF’s 12, the ruling alliance has 73 legislators.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

Leprosy is no longer a ground for divorce

  • The Lok Sabha passed Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce, stating that this was a “discriminatory” provision for a disease that is now curable.
  • The Bill has sought to amend five Acts — the Divorce Act, 1869, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 — on provisions related to marriage, divorce, and separation of Hindu and Muslim couples.
  • Each of these Acts prescribe leprosy as a ground for seeking divorce or separation from the spouse.

 

 

 

GS II: POLITY – ELECTIONS

SC notice to EC on VVPAT verification

  • The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to respond to a plea that the counts from electronic voting machines and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units should be cross-verified in at least 30% randomly chosen polling stations in each Assembly and Lok Sabha constituency, especially in light of the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.
  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, ordered the Commission to respond to the petition jointly filed by former IAS officer M.G. Devasahayam, ex-diplomat K.P. Fabian and retired banker Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, represented by advocate Prasanna S.
  • The petition said the commission had chosen to conduct the cross-verification exercise in an “inexplicably minuscule” manner (less than 1% of polling stations in each constituency) in the recent Assembly elections.
  • The petitioners submitted that the Supreme Court in its judgment in Subramanian Swamy versus ECI, reported in 2013, had held that it was imperative that elections held through EVMs ought to implement a mechanism of voter verifiable paper audit trails so that the voter can satisfy himself that his vote was accurately recorded.

GS II: POLITY – BILL/ACT

SC shocked as Section 66A of IT Act is still invoked

  • Over three years after it struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court said it was shocked to hear that authorities still continued to book people under the now-extinct draconian provision.
  • A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, who wrote the judgment in March 2015 upholding online free speech against Section 66A, said “strict action” would follow if the claims in the petition filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) were found true.
  • The court ordered the Centre to respond to the petition in four weeks.
  • The PUCL said Section 66A, which restricted free expression online, continued to survive and occasionally found a place in the FIRs registered by the police in complete contravention of the Supreme Court judgment in the Shreya Singhal case.
  • The judgment had found that Section 66A was contrary to both Articles 19 (free speech) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
  • The entire provision was struck down by the court.
  • The petition said the judgment rendered Section 66A extinct from the very date of its insertion into the IT Act, i.e. October 27, 2009.
  • The petition said many officials may not even know about the Supreme Court verdict.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

Govt. says GDP to grow at 7.2% for FY19

  • The government has projected GDP growth for the full year 2018-19 to come in at 7.2%, which implies that growth in the second half of the year would slow significantly to 6.8% from the 7.6% clocked in the first half of the year, according to the first advance estimates of national income for 2018-19 released by the Ministry of Statistics.
  • This growth estimate for the entire year is slower than the Reserve Bank of India’s forecast of 7.4%.
  • The nominal GDP has been estimated at 12.3%.
  • Economists, however, feel that the government’s prediction for the second half of the year is too conservative.

GS III: ECONOMY – STOCKS

SEBI takes steps to bring uniformity in commodity derivatives segment

  • With the number of exchanges offering commodity derivatives on the rise and national-level equity bourses also entering the fray, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is making all attempts to bring uniformity among the bourses in a segment which came under its regulatory purview only three years ago.
  • The capital markets regulator has decided to meet the chief regulatory officers (CROs) of all six exchanges that offer commodity derivatives trading once every quarter to discuss regulatory and compliance matters in order to enhance uniformity amongst the bourses.
  • This assumes significance as, unlike the equity segment with two main bourses and identical product offering, the commodity derivatives segment is quite diversified with each exchange having created a niche in a certain category of commodities.
  • “Commodity market is not linear like equities and hence requires more coordination and oversight,” said a person familiar with the SEBI initiative.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Essar Global repays Rs. 12,000 cr. loans

  • Essar Global Fund Ltd. , the holding company for the Essar group of companies, repaid a debt of Rs. 12,000 crore to its various Indian and foreign lenders.
  • This is in addition to the Rs. 30,000 crore that it had repaid in August 2017 to various lenders.
  • Essar Global has now repaid approximately Rs. 6,300 crore to ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
  • With this, these banks have been repaid their entire facility of Rs. 31,500 crore.
  • The loans had been provided to Essar Global to fund its capital expenditure programme between 2008 and 2014.
  • Lenders with whom settlements have been concluded include ICICI Bank and State Bank of India. It also includes a consortium of international funds led by Davidson Kempner.
  • At the group level, the Ruias have undertaken a deleveraging programme, and repaid over Rs. 1,37,000 crore of debt.
  • In 2017, through the sale of Essar Oil to a consortium led by Rosneft and Trafigura, Essar Global had repaid approximately Rs. 86,000 crore of group liabilities.
  • A further debt of Rs. 44,000 crore of group debt relating to Essar Steel India is being addressed through the ongoing IBC process.
  • The lenders have already received an offer from ArcelorMittal for a cash repayment of Rs. 42,000 crore.
  • A subsidiary of Essar Global has separately offered Rs. 54,389 crore, for full repayment to secured lenders and operational creditors.

GS III: ENERGY

Rs. 40,000 cr. expected from OALP-II auctions

  • The government is expecting about Rs. 40,000 crore of investment in the 14 blocks it put up on auction for prospecting of oil and gas in the second round of open acreage licensing policy (OALP), Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
  • In the first round of OALP in 2018, as much as Rs. 60,000 crore was committed in the exploration of oil and gas in 55 blocks or areas, he said adding a third round of OALP with 12 oil and gas blocks and five coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks would be launched in January 2019.
  • The 14 blocks offered in OALP-II bid rounds cover an area of 29,333 square kilometre and bids close on March 12.
  • Since 2014, the Centre has held two auctions of discovered small fields and two auctions under OALP.
  • Cumulative investment committed is Rs. 1,20,000 crore, he said.

 

GS III: S&T – INDIAN

Gas hydrates produced under ‘space’ conditions

  • Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have experimentally shown that methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) can exist as gas hydrates at temperatures and pressures seen in interstellar atmosphere.
  • Gas hydrates are formed when a gas such as methane gets trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules forming crystalline solids.
  • In terrestrial conditions, gas hydrates are formed naturally under the sea bed and glaciers under high pressure, low temperature conditions.
  • Methane hydrate is a potential source of natural gas.
  • The methane and CO2 hydrates were produced in the lab at very low pressures (ten thousand billionth of atmospheric pressure) and temperature (as low as -263 degree C) to simulate the conditions of deep space.
  • The carbon dioxide hydrate produced in the lab raises the possibility of sequestering or storing carbon dioxide as hydrates by taking advantage of ice existing in environmental conditions favourable for hydrate formation.
  • IIT Madras, in collaboration with GAIL, is working to recover methane from methane hydrate from the Krishna-Godavari Basin and sequester CO2 simultaneously.

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