Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 07 - MAY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 07 - MAY - 2016
Saturday, 07 May 2016 03:23

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

07 - MAY - 2016

 

UNION CABINET APPROVED MOU BETWEEN INDIA AND PAPUA NEW GUINEA ON COOPERATION IN HEALTH AND MEDICAL SCIENCE

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the fields of Healthcare and Medical Science.

The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of India and the Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS of the Papua New Guinea through joint initiatives in the health sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Papua New Guinea.

ISRO’S SEVENTH NAVIGATIONAL SATELLITE IRNSS 1G LAUNCHED

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched India’s seventh navigation satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS 1G) into a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO) on-board PSLV-C33.

The satellite was launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, which is situated 90 kms from Chennai.

With this launch, India successfully joined the elite group of countries that have their own navigation system technology to cater to the mammoth navigational needs.

As in the previous six launches of IRNSS satellites, PSLV-C33 used ‘XL’ version of PSLV equipped with six strap-ons, each carrying 12 tons of propellant.

IRNSS-1G

IRNSS-1G is the seventh navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. Its predecessors, IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F were launched by PSLV-C22, PSLV-C24, PSLV-C26, PSLV-C27, PSLV-C31 and PSLV-C32 in July 2013, April 2014, October 2014, March 2015, January 2016 and March 2016 respectively.

Like all other IRNSS satellites, IRNSS-1G also has a lift-off mass of 1425 kg. The configuration of IRNSS-1G too is the same as IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F.

Payloads

The satellite with a design life span of 12 years has two payloads for navigation and ranging.

• Navigation payload – It will transmit navigation service signals to the users. This payload will be operating in L5-band and S-band. A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite.

• Ranging payload – It consists of a C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

Features of IRNSS

• It consists of seven satellites to provide real-time data on the position of objects to aid road, air and maritime traffic apart from providing mapping and tracking services.

• It is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.

• It would provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Services (SPS), which will be provided to all users, and Restricted Services (RS) that will be provided to authorised users only.

• Out of the seven satellites of the system, three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary.

• By using the IRNSS as a platform, the Government of India is planning to launch its own Global Navigational Satellite Services, GINS (Global Indian Navigation Satellite) system. It is similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the USA.

While many countries in the world have more than 20 satellites in serving the navigational purpose Indian scientists can boast of by achieving the goal by launching the seventh satellite which in a way completes the constellation which was earlier planned.

This constellation will help ISRO to take help from the civilian needs to security or defence needs.

Comment

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi who congratulated ISRO for the launch termed the system as NAVIC (Navigate with Indian Constellation). This launch also made into the selected nations that have their own GPS (Global Positioning System) or navigation system.The other select countries in the league includes

• US Air Force owns Global Positioning System (GPS)

• Russia owns GLONASS

• China owns BeiDou, which is expanding into a global system. It is also operated by its military.

• Europe - GALILEO is a civil global system

UNION GOVERNMENT ALLOWED STATES TO CONTROL STOCK LIMITS ON SUGAR TO CHECK PRICE RISE

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved to bring sugar under the purview of imposing stock holding limits on dealers of sugar by the state governments. It was to check the price rise in sugar.

The Government identified that despite having sufficient sugar stocks with the Sugar Mills, the wholesale and retail prices have shown a rise.

Government felt an immediate need to bring sugar within the purview of stock limits in order to check the inflationary tendencies in sugar and to reduce hoarding by wholesalers and retailers.

The Government has taken stock of the availability of sugar and different factors contributing to rise in market prices of sugar across the country and decided to allow states to put stock holding limits on sugar

The decision empowered State and Central agencies to impose stock limits and regulate supply, distribution, storage and trade of sugar to bring down sugar prices at reasonable level by curbing unscrupulous trading.

NITI AAYOG LAUNCHED URBAN MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME FOR CAPACITY BUILDING OF STATES AND URBAN LOCAL BODIES

NITI Aayog chaired by Vice Chairman Dr Arvind Panagariya launched the Urban Management Programme in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

The state participation was at the level of Secretaries of Urban Development, Municipal Commissioners and other senior officials of State Government and parastatal bodies. About 150 participants were present in the event.

An overview of the Urban Management Programme

• The Programme is designed by NITI Aayog, Temasek Foundation and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) under the platform of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between NITI Aayog and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE).

• It was to tap the expertise of Singapore in urban sector to build capacities in State Governments and ULBs to design efficient solutions to urban problems.

• As a part of NITI Aayog’s mandate to promote cooperative federalism, NITI is reaching out to the States to resolve their issues pending with different Ministries.

• It is emphasized on improving governance particularly of the census towns whose number has significantly increased between census 2001 and 2011.

• The vision of urban transformation is achieved successfully only with the well built municipal cadre and provide stability of tenure to officials in municipalities.

CHINA SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED KUNPENG-1B SOUNDING ROCKET

China successfully launched the Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket from a launch pad in Danzhou City in the southern Chinese Hainan Province. The rocket reached a maximum height of 316 kilometres (196 miles), with the total flight time coming to 10 minutes.

The head of the rocket was equipped with a new altitude control system. New materials of flexible carbon fibre were also used in the rocket to enable easier flight.

This is the first time Kunpeng 1B’s arrow configuration of altitude control system and carbon fibre stretching rod has been used on a sounding rocket in China. It makes the detector more flexible and lightweight.

This sounding rocket is expected to fulfil its mission of taking measurements in the upper atmosphere that will help with research of rocket sounding, high-speed flight and space tourism.

The rocket’s falling ball experiment detection for further study of low latitudes in the ionosphere and in the upper atmosphere has important scientific significance.

About Sounding rockets

A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight.

Sounding rockets are advantageous for the research because of their low cost, short lead time and their ability to conduct research in areas inaccessible to either balloons or satellites. They are also used as test beds for equipment that will be used in more expensive and risky orbital spaceflight missions.

China first launched a Kunpeng-1 Sounding Rocket in April 2013.

UNION CABINET APPROVED INVESTMENT ENHANCEMENT BY BPCL IN BHARAT OMAN REFINERIES LIMITED

The Union Cabinet approved to enhance investment by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL).

Now, the investment amount can be enhanced upto a maximum of 3000 crore rupees by way of subscription of convertible warrants giving right to convert it into equity shares to be issued by BORL.

The infusion of funds by the BPCLs will enable BORL to overcome the implications on account of the erosion of the net worth.

Besides, it will enhance the availability of petroleum products in the Northern and Central parts of the country, will help in industrial development of Madhya Pradesh and substantial increase in employment and tax earnings in the State.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is a public sector undertaking under the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Background
BPCL holds a joint venture company with Oman Oil Company Limited (OOCL) named Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL). The BORL commissioned the 6 MMTPA (120 Thousand Barrels Per Day) Refinery at Bina in Madhya Pradesh in June 2011 at a project cost of about 12754 crore rupees.

Currently, the refinery is operating at 100 percent of its installed capacity. The company now proposes to undertake a debottlenecking project at the refinery to further increase the refining capacity from 6 MMTPA to 7.8 MMTPA.

Hence, there is a need for immediate infusion of funds in BORL by the shareholders. Therefore, BPCL Board has decided to infuse funds to the tune of 3000 Crore rupees.

APEX COURT ASKS CENTRE TO LOOK FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF FLOOR TEST

  • The Supreme Courtsaid that a “floor test is the ultimate test” to decide who is in power, and asked the Centre to consider having a trust vote in the Uttarakhand Assembly to determine whether the Congress government has a majority.
  • The court said it would temporarily suspend President’s Rule to facilitate the floor test. Attorney general agreed to return on 4th with the government’s response.
  • It had expressed its displeasure to both parties — the Centre and Mr. Rawat — for trading allegations on horse trading and the airing of a sting operation featuring the former Chief Minister allegedly discussing pay-offs.
  • “Both horse trading and airing of sting operation create a dent in democracy. Thatis why we said that a floor test is the ultimate test,” Justice Misra had observed.
  • But court’s proposal was shot down by Mr. Rohatgi in thelast hearing. The A-G instead asked the court to first decide the validity of the proclamation (of President’s Rule) before a floor test was held.
  • In fact, the Centre, which won a stay in the apex court against a High Court decision on April 21 to lift President’s Rule, had argued that what happened in the legislature on March 18 when the Money Bill was tabled was itself a floor test.

UNION GOVERNMENT APPROVED ASSISTANCE OF 35000 CRORE FOR M.H. IRRIGATION SECTOR

  • The central government has approved a special assistance of Rs 35,000 crore to help Maharashtra tide over the mess in its irrigation sector, an area where successive governments have performed poorly.
  • The funds will be diverted over three years towards completion of 199 ongoing projects in the drought-affected areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha.
  • This will aim to double the state’s irrigated area to 126 lakh hectares from the existing 48 lakh ha.
  • Of the shortlisted 132 projects in drought-prone talukas, 98 are from Vidarbha and 34 are from the districts of Marathwada with each getting an assurance of Rs 4,098 crore and Rs 3,090 cr respectively.
  • Another 67 projects are the drought prone area projects (DPAP) in the districts. Aid was sought for completing the long-pending Ghosikhurd irrigation project and the Tapi recharge irrigation project.
  • The Centre has announced setting up of a committee to look into the speedy approvals for the Ghosikhurd project.

NGT ISSUED SHOW-CAUSE NOTICES TO BOTH UTTARAKHAND AND HIMACHAL PRADESH

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued show-cause notices to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh voicing concern over the raging forest fires and sought details of plans to deal with the situation.
  • A Bench of the green court headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) what it has done to control the situation.
  • Responding to the query, the counsel for the Ministry said that a team of officials was working on the issue and choppers of Indian Air Force have been deployed in the firefighting operations.
  • It, however, asked the advocates for the States to take instructions on this issue.
  • The observations came while the NGT was hearing arguments on a petition filed by an NGO against alleged “unregulated” operation of rafting camps in Rishikesh and other areas on the banks of the Ganga.
  • In other case NGT has ordered the Telangana Government to maintain status quo on its Rs 21,000-crore Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP) till the case comes up for hearing.
  • The case was taken suomotu by the South Zonal Bench of the NGT, Chennai, based on newspaper reports that hundreds of trees would be cut to make way for the project.

PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE WANTS DRDO CHANGE ITSELF

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has called on the Defence Research and Development Organisation to reorient itself with a technology road map, focussing its energy on developing certain key technologies.
  • Low-end technologies should be assigned to private sector, it has said.
  • The Committee, while appreciating the work done by DRDO, nevertheless, also feels concerned to note that even after 58 years, there is no clear-cut technological road map prepared.
  • It has called for scientific, technical and concurrent audit of all ongoing DRDO projects by an independent agency, expressing its dismay over the closure of several projects at the initial stage itself.
  • The committee criticised the DRDO for the delay in major projects.

INDIA GETS A MAJOR DIPLOMATIC COUP IN F-16

  • In a diplomatic coup for India that sets the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. capital in June, the Obama administration announced that the U.S. would not be financing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
  • The administration’s turnaround, by now aligning itself with the bipartisan sentiments expressed in the U.S. Congress against giving aid to finance the deal, also signifies a change in its attitude towards Pakistan.
  • Congress has approved the sale, key members have made clear that they object to using Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to support it. After objections, US has told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose.
  • The original plan was to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan and finance most of the $699 million deal through FMF.
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman announced that they would not approve FMF for Pakistan until it demonstrated “behavioural changes” in its support for terrorism and its dealings with India.
  • India has been strongly protesting the U.S. decision to give these fighters to Pakistan, and the matter figured in Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s meetings with U.S. Officials.
  • The State Department announcement came on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.
  • Meanwhile, Pakistan said it will acquire jets from elsewhere if the United States doesn’t arrange funding for F-16s.
  • Mr. Obama said in the interview that the U.S. had “excellent counter terrorism cooperation with Pakistan”, and Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson argued that F-16s improved Pakistan’s counter-terror capabilities.
  • Pakistan has not been able to get the Taliban to the negotiating table in Afghanistan as it had promised, and the U.S. is increasing its engagement with India on Afghanistan, much to the discomfort of Pakistan establishment.
  • The new order is for 13 F-35s, the fifth generation stealth fighters. The Joint Strike Fighter programme is estimated to cost $379 billion for adding 2,457 aircraft, the costliest Pentagon acquisition ever.

A SPECIAL BANGLADESH’S COURT SENTENCED MORE FOR CRIMES DURING INDEPENDENCE WAR

  • A special war crimes court in Bangladesh sentenced four men to death for killing, torture, arson and looting during the nation’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.
  • The court, accused by rights groups of holding flawed proceedings, said the four were involved in the deaths of nine people.
  • Only one suspect, Shamsuddin Ahmed, was in court for the verdict. Authorities are still hunting for the other three— Gazi Abdul Mannan, Hafiz Uddin, and Shamsuddin Ahmed’s brother, Nasiruddin.
  • The three-judge tribunal also sentenced a fifth man, Azharul Islam, to life in prison on two murder charges.
  • Past convictions have led Islamist groups to call for public strikes and protests against what they say is a witch hunt by the government.
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the war crimes trials, carried out by special tribunals established in 2010, represent a long-overdue effort to obtain justice more than four decades after Bangladesh split from Pakistan.
  • Dozens of people have been convicted so far, including at least 29 who were sentenced to death. Most were leaders of the opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami.

ANTIBIOTICS CAN ALSO MAKE BODY PRONE TO INFECTION

  • Antibiotics are essential for fighting bacterial infection, but, paradoxically, they can also make the body more prone to infection and diarrhoea by allowing gut pathogens to “breathe”, says a study.
  • Antibiotics benefit pathogen growth by disrupting oxygen levels and fibre processing in the gut, the study said.
  • The findings could lead to development of new strategies to prevent the side effects of antibiotic treatment.
  • Exactly how the resident “good” microbes in the gut protect against pathogens, such as Salmonella, and how antibiotic treatments foster growth of disease-causing microbes have been poorly understood.
  • The reduced ability to metabolise fibre prevents these cells from consuming oxygen, increasing oxygen levels in the gut lumen that favour the growth of Salmonella.
  • Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

GOOGLE CHROME BECAME THE MOST USED BROWSER

  • Google Chrome became the top Internet browser, officially ending the long reign of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE).
  • Mozilla’s Firefox browser was third, according to market tracker NetMarketShare.
  • Google Chrome had 41.7 per cent of desktop browser share.

THE SEVENTH PAY COMMISSION HAS RECOMMENDED TO ABOLISH OVERTIME ALLOWANCE

  • The Seventh Pay Commission has recommended that overtime allowance, except for operational staff and industrial employees governed by statutory provisions, should be abolished.
  • This is recommended after data showed that the expenditure under the head for the Railways and Defence ministries more than doubled in seven years ending 2012-13.
  • Overall, the overtime paid by the Government increased from Rs.797 crore to Rs.1,629 crore in the period, prompting the Commission to observe that government offices need to increase productivity and efficiency.
  • “Government employees should be paid for results, not to spend time in the office, but overtime is mandated by law in organisations like railways and in such cases payments must be realistic and not frozen in time.
  • Overtime allowance paid in just the Ministry of Railways and to civilian employees in the Ministry of Defence, accounts for more than 90 per cent of all overtime paid by the Centre, the Commission found.
  • While the Ministry of Defence has achieved some success in controlling payment of the allowance, the efforts of the Railways Ministry have not borne fruit as yet.
  • The allowance decreased to 6.54 per cent of pay in 2012-13 from nearly 8 per cent in 2006-07 in the Ministry of Defence. It increased to 2.58 per cent in the Ministry of Railways in 2012-13 from 2.09 per cent in 2006-07.
  • Overtime paid to employees in the Railways is rising faster than even their pay. The compounded annual growth rate of 17.2 per cent for overtime in the ministry exceeds that of pay which is 13.2 per cent.
  • If the government decides to continue with the allowance for those categories of staff for which it is not a statutory requirement, then it should be increased by 50 per cent, the panel recommended.

APEX COURT SETTLED THE TIPS ISSUE

  • Tips to waiter had become a bone of contention between a leading hospitality group and the taxman.
  • The matter landed in court, which passed a landmark judgment. The issue was whether tips constituted salary-income or income from other sources and whether the employer was obliged to ‘withhold’ the tax.
  • The Tax Authority, in this case the Commissioner of Income Tax (TDS), contended that such tips constituted the salary-income of waiters and the tax-payer (employer) was obliged to withhold taxes and remit them to the authorities.
  • The authority treated the taxpayer as assessee-in-default and sought to recover the tax shortfall with interest. It also levied a penalty.
  • Its contention was that tips from customers were salary-income of waiters as “profits in lieu of salary” and salary included salary paid or allowed to an employee by or on behalf of an employer.
  • However, the tax payer, ITC Gurgaon’s contention was that tips were received directly by the waiters from customers and the tax-payer merely acted as a trustee, collecting tips and passing it on to the employees.
  • Since tips did not constitute salary-income of the employees, the taxpayer had no obligation to withhold tax and could not be treated as a defaulter-assessee.
  • The apex court, in its recent ruling, held that since tips werereceived voluntarily from customers and employee-waiters had no vested right against the employer to claim any such amount, it did not constitute salary-income.
  • There is no dispute that tips are taxable income, but it is income from other sources, the court said.

THE GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING TO INTRODUCE VERIFICATION THROUGH ORDINARY MOBILE PHONES

  • The government is planning to introduce a system wherein verification, at the time of availing public service benefits, can be done through an ordinary mobile phone.
  • The beneficiary needs to inform the authorities of his or her unique registration number in the government-sponsored scheme following which a one-time password (OTP) will be sent to the beneficiary through SMS to verify the individual’s identity.
  • Efforts would be made to educate the beneficiaries, especially in the rural areas, to keep their latest mobile phone numbers registered or updated with Aadhaar so as to easily avail benefits in various social sector schemes of the government.
  • To begin with, the government will test this technology in the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) that it proposes to roll out soon for under-privileged households.
  • Under the scheme, announced in this year’s Budget, health insurance cover of up to Rs.1 lakh per family will be given in case of serious illness of family members.
  • An additional insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 will be provided for each senior citizen in the family.
  • Once the family is enrolled under NHPS, its members can go to any of the empanelled hospitals to avail the health insurance benefits.
  • Hospitals having good Internet connectivity will do online authentication of the beneficiary using biometrics of any of the family members.
  • However, in a few hospitals, situated in remote or unconnected areas, where there is a lack of good Internet connectivity, mobile phone numbers registered with Aadhaar will be used to verify the identity of the beneficiary.
  • The system would also have safeguards to ensure that no other person can avail benefits by using a genuine beneficiary’s mobile phone.
  • This will also ensure speedy treatment of the patient in case of medical emergency.
  • For smart phone users, the government will unveil UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance), which will consolidate about 200 major central and state services under a single unified platform.

GOVERNMENT STARTED THE PROCESS TO SET UP A NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON TRADE FACILITATION

  • The government has started the process to set up a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) in the country to coordinate and implement the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
  • TFA is aimed at easing customs norms to expedite global trade flows.
  • The NCTF, which is in line with the government’s “Ease of Doing Business” initiatives, is meant to institutionalise co-ordination on trade facilitation between the 35-plus central government departments, private players and state governments.
  • India had ratified the TFA in April. For the TFA to be operational, two-thirds (or 108) of the 162 WTO members will have to ratify it. So far, 77 countries have ratified it.
  • The TFA will help in the world’s best trade practices being shared among the WTO member countries ratifying the pact.
  • While India has have made rapid strides in streamlining its processes on the lines of international best practices, the country needs to ensure speedy legislation so that there are visible beneficial outcomes.
  • Industry and its various associations would be consulted while implementing the different provisions of the TFA.
  • The agreement is supposed to enable domestic manufacturers connect more easily to regional and Global Value Chains.
  • Govt also unveiled a user-friendly analytics dashboard to provide easy access to the public on export and import trends of India, including commodities, export destinations, ports of export, countries of import, ports of import, as well as balance of trade for different regions, countries and ports.
  • The dashboard on export and import will enable small businesses to foray into global trade based on reliable information.

 

 

 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 03:09