Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 10 - JULY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 10 - JULY - 2016
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10- JULY - 2016

 

CABINET RESHUFFLE: 19 NEW MINISTERS INCLUDED

Union Council of Ministers was reshuffled and expanded with inclusion of 19 new Ministers of State. The new inductees were administered the oath of office and secrecy at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Besides, Minister of State with independent charge, Prakash Javdekar was elevated to the Cabinet rank.

Of the inductees, three each are from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Rajasthan has got four berths in expansion while Maharashtra two. There is one Minister each from West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka and Uttarakhand.

Of the nineteen new ministers, 17 are from the BJP, one each from Apna Dal and RPI. There are two minority leaders - MJ Akbar and SS Ahluwalia and two women Anupriya Singh Patel and Krishna Raj.

The Ministers of State are

Faggan Singh Kulaste – A prominent tribal leader and Member of Parliament from Barbati in Madhya Pradesh.

• Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia – He is Member of Parliament from Darjeeling.

• Ramesh Chandappa Jigjinagi - a Dalit leader and Lok Sabha MP (five times) from Bijapur, Karnataka.

• Vijay Goel – He is a BJP leader from Delhi and was elected to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.

• Ramdas Athawale – He is the chief of Republican Party of India (Athawale) is a seasoned Dalit leader and a vocal Ambedkarite. He is the lone Rajya Sabha member.

• Rajen Gohain – He is a BJP MP (4th term in Lok Sabha) from Nawgong Assam.

• Anil Madhav Dave – He is a Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh and is an environmentalist. He has written several books on the subject.

Parshottam Rupala – He is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat and this is his second term as a Rajya Sabha member.

• MJ Akbar - Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh.

Arjun Ram Meghwal – He is a Lok Sabha MP from Bikaner, Rajasthan.

• Jaswant Sinh Bhabhor – He is a tribal leader and a Member of the Parliament from Dahod constituency in Gujarat.

• Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey – He is a BJP Lok Sabha MP from Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh.

• Ajay Tamta - He is also a Dalit leader from the hill state of Uttarakhand. He is a Lok Sabha member from the Almora constituency.

• Krishna Raj – She is a Dalit leader from UP's Rohilkhand region and a Lok Sabha member from UP's Shahjahanpur.

• Mansukh Mandaviya – A native of Bhavnagar in Gujarat and a prominent leader from the Patel community is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat.

• Anupriya Singh Patel – She is the daughter of the late Sone Lal Patel, a Kurmi leader with significant influence in Uttar Pradesh. She is a Lok Sabha

MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

• C R Chaudhary – He holds a degree from the University of Birmingham and carries an expertise in the field of rural development. He is a BJP MP from Nagaur, Rajasthan.

P P Chaudhary - He Lok sabha MP from Pali, Rajasthan and belongs the OBC Seervi caste. He is a recipient of the Sansad Ratna award twice in his stint at the Lok sabha. He also heads Seervi Mahasabha.

• Dr Subhash Bhamre – he is an oncologist and a practicing doctor. He is BJP Lok Sabha MP from Dhule, Maharashtra.

Five ministers were dropped from the Council of Ministers and they are Minister of State (MoS) for Chemicals and Fertilizers Nihal Chand Meghwal, MoS HRD Ram Shankar Katheria, MoS Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat, MoS Tribal Affairs Manuskhbhai D Vasva and MoS Agriculture MK Kundariya.

Comment

With this second expansion of the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi the total number of ministers in the Union Council went up to 83.

However, as per Constitutional provisions mentioned in Article 75, the total number cannot exceed 82 (i.e. 15% of the total number of members of Lok Sabha) and it may require the dropping of some ministers to keep the number within the prescribed cap.

This provision of constitutional cap for total number of Ministers in the Union Council was added by the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003.

LOGISTIC PERFORMANCE INDEX 2016 RELEASED BY WORLD BANK

World Bank released the Logistics Performance Index 2016 titled ‘Connecting to compete: 2016: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy.’ The 2016 Logistics Performance Index (LPI) allows for comparisons across 160 countries.

The 2016 LPI is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.

Findings of the World Bank’s biennial report

Germany tops the 2016 rankings and is followed by Luxembourg, Sweden, Netherlands, and Singapore. Hong Kong SAR, China was ranked at 9th position while United States was placed at 10th Position in the list of rankings. Mainland China was placed at 27th position.

Syrian Arab Republic was ranked at 160th position in the list.

In context of India

• India’s ranking jumped from 54 in 2014 to 35 in 2016.

• India is ahead of comparatively advanced economies like Portugal and New Zealand.

• In 2016, India’s international supply chain efficiency was at 75 percent of top-ranked Germany. This is an improvement over the 66% efficiency when compared to the leader (again Germany) in 2014.

• The improvement was credited to recent reforms made into practice in the country like

a) Single Window Interface for Trade (SWIFT)

b) Electronic messaging system between Shipping lines and Custodians for electronic delivery order

c) Filing of import and export declarations and manifests online with digital signature

d) Extension of Customs’ risk management system to other regulatory agencies to ensure risk-based inspection

e) Reduction of documents required for export and import

f) Extension of 24x7 customs clearance facilities to 19 seaports and 17 air cargo complexes

g) Removal of limit on the number of consignments released under direct delivery and many more

India’s performance on the core pillars

India’s performance on the six core pillars of logistics performance Index that is used to rank the countries by World Bank in its study is

• The ability to track and trace consignments: From 57 to 33

• The quality of trade and transport infrastructure: From 58 to 36

• The competence and quality of logistics services: From 52 to 32

The six core pillars of logistics used to rank the nations includes

• The efficiency of customs and border management clearance

• The quality of trade and transport infrastructure

• The ease of arranging competitively priced shipments

• The competence and quality of logistics services

• The ability to track and trace consignments

• The frequency with which shipments reach consignees within scheduled or expected delivery times

Logistics Performance Index

The Logistics Performance Index is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.

The LPI consists of both qualitative and quantitative measures and helps build profiles of logistics friendliness for these countries. It measures performance along the logistics supply chain within a country and offers two different perspectives: international and domestic.

PARA SWIMMER NIRANJAN MUKUNDAN WINS EIGHT MEDALS IN IWAS WORLD GAMES

Para swimmer Niranjan Mukundan won eight medals, including three gold medals, at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) U-23 World Games.

The games concluded in Prague, Czech Republic.

Mukundan bagged gold medals in 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke, silver in 100m fly and 50m freestyle, and bronze in 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 100m backstroke events.

Who is Niranjan Mukundan?

Born on 4 September 1994, Mukundan is an Indian para-swimmer.

He was born with a physical deformity called Spina Bifida. It is a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord.

• He was crowned as the Junior World Champion in the year 2015.

GoSports Foundation supports Mukundan through the Para Champions Programme.

In 2015, he was given National Award for Best Sports-person of the Year by Government of India.

In 2016, he was awarded with Ekalavya Award.

WORLD'S LARGEST CHARKHA UNVEILED AT IGI AIRPORT, DELHI

World’s largest Charkha (spinning wheels) was unveiled at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), New Delhi by Union Minister for MSME Kalraj Mishra.

The idea behind displaying the world’s biggest charkha at the country’s busiest airport is to highlight India’s quest to foster an egalitarian society as demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation.

Aim behind Installation

The Charkha was installed at the departure forecourt of the terminal with a belief that it would help in carrying forward the legacy of promoting India’s rich cultural heritage through different artworks at the terminal.

All the existing artworks at the terminal - Mudras, Regal procession, Elephant statues, Surya Sculpture, Suryanamaskar and Worli Art among others - depict and showcase Indian heritage globally.

About the Charkha

• The Charkha that weighs 4-tonnes is made from high-quality Burma teak wood.

• It is 9 ft wide, 17 ft tall and 30 ft long.

• It is estimated that the Charkha would last for over 50 years.

• It was built in 55 days by a team of 42 highly skilled carpenters hailing from Ahmedabad.

MOU BETWEEN INDIA & MAURITIUS IN THE FIELD OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT & POVERTY ALLEVIATION APPROVED

The Union Cabinet approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Mauritius in the field of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation.

The MoU will help to establish a framework for cooperation between the National Development Unit, Prime Minister's Office of Mauritius and the Union Ministry of Rural Development in the sphere of rural development.

The MoU will come into effect from the date of its signature.

Highlights

• It will encourage cooperation in the field of rural development and capacity building on the basis of equality and mutual benefit between both countries.

• A Joint Committee on Cooperation on Rural Development will be established which will meet alternatively in both countries on mutually agreed dates.

• Under the MoU, the two countries have agreed to coordinate and facilitate appropriate technical cooperation, including

a) The access to Indian expertise institutions that can assist in fulfilling the objectives of this MoU.

b) Exchange of relevant information and documents in the sphere of rural development, including scientific and technical information together with policies, support measures adopted to foster rural development.

c) The two nations would exchange relevant information on issues of mutual interest.

Background

The MoU is based on the fact that the both countries have a large segment of their population living in rural areas and are pre-dominantly dependent on agriculture and its allied activities for their livelihoods.

An institutional arrangement for bilateral cooperation between India and Mauritius in the field of rural development and poverty alleviation was under consideration for some time.

UNION CABINET APPROVES THE HIGH COURTS (ALTERATION OF NAMES) BILL, 2016

The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave green signal to introduce The High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.

The High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016 will facilitate the changing of the names of Bombay High Court as Mumbai High Court and Madras High Court as Chennai High Court respectively.

The bill is the proposal of the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry.

About Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

It was inaugurated on 14 August 1862 under the High Courts Act, 1861.

It is one of the oldest High Courts of India with jurisdiction over the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The High Court has regional branches at Nagpur and Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Panaji in Goa.

Since India's Independence, 22 judges from this court have been elevated to the Supreme Court and 8 of them have been Chief Justice of India.

About Madras High Court

Madras High Court is located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The court is one of the three High Courts in India established at the Presidency Towns by Letters patent granted by Queen Victoria.

Background

The High Courts of Bombay and Madras were named after the cities in which they were located.

There have been demands for change in the names of these High Courts, after the cities were rechristened in the 1990s.

Currently, there is no Central Law under which the proposal for change of names of these High Courts can be addressed.

British India's three presidency towns of Madras , Bombay and Calcutta were each granted a High Court by letters patent dated 26 June 1862. The letters patent were issued by Queen Victoria under the authority of the British parliament's Indian High Courts Act 1861.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ SAYS CRACKDOWN ON NGO'S HURTING INDIA'S IMAGE

  • The crackdown on non-government organisations (NGOs) as well as the harassment of students in universities has adversely affected India’s image on the international stage, says economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz.
  • Responding to a question of his evaluation of the Narendra Modi-led government, the economist said there were two big concerns that had got public attention abroad.
  • One was the “conditions” being imposed on NGOs – Ford Foundation in particular – to make them difficult to operate in India and the other was the “harassment” of students in universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University.
  • Mr. Stiglitz delivered a talk on “Global inequality: Causes and Consequences” along with economist Branko Milanovic.

 

APEX COURT CAUTIONS JUDGES OF JUDICIAL ACTIVISM

  • Cautioning the judiciary against judicial activism, the Supreme Court said judges must remain within the limits of the law and not peddle individual perceptions and notions of justice.
  • The judgment provides a sharp mix of caution and rebuke to judges who cross the fine line between judicial functions and judicial activism.
  • The apex court said if a judge considered himself or herself a “candle of hope” and took decisions under the influence of such a notion, it might do more harm than good to the society.
  • While using the power Judge has to bear in mind that ‘discipline’ and ‘restriction’ are the two basic golden virtues within which a judge functions,” Justice Misra wrote.
  • The verdict was passed on a petition by the Gujarat government challenging an August 2012 order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court that said the State’s refusal to prematurely release a TADA convict, Lal Singh, was “illegal.”
  • The judgment, setting aside the High Court order, also noted that authorities’ report on the convict showed that he was “involved in disruptive activities, criminal conspiracy, smuggling of arms, ammunitions and explosives.”

 

PROCESS TO SELECT NEW CBI DIRECTOR STARTED

  • The Narendra Modi government has started the process to select the next Director of the CBI, with almost five months left for the tenure of the incumbent Anil Sinha to end in December.
  • The CBI Director has a fixed tenure of two years. Last week, the Department of Personnel and Training sought the names of eligible officers of the Indian Police Service from the Home Ministry.
  • Under the Lokpal Act, a selection committee, headed by the Prime Minister and comprising the leader of the single largest Opposition party and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him as a member, appoints the CBI Director.
  • The DoPT will shortlist officers on the basis of their experience and integrity in investigating anti-corruption cases.

 

GOVT INCREASES PACE FOR CLEANING GANGA

  • Union Water Resources Minister said 231 projects would be simultaneously inaugurated at various locations in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi.
  • This would be the first sign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Rs. 20,000-crore promise to clean up the Ganga by 2020 sputtering to life.
  • The projects — several of them technology demonstration initiatives sourced from abroad and India too — deal with commissioning and improving sewage treatment plants, re-developing ghats and crematoriums, afforestation, tree plantation (herbs) and conservation of biodiversity.
  • Ms. Bharti added that 400 villages along the river Ganga would be developed as Ganga Gram in phase-I with some IITs roped in for their development.

 

U.K’S IRAQ WAR INQUIRY REPORT CAME

  • Sir John Chilcot, who chaired the U.K’s Iraq War Inquiry, has concluded in his much-awaited report that the legal basis of then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq was “far from satisfactory”.
  • Sir Chilcot, in his time-line of the run-up to the declaration of the 2003 war and thereafter came to several important conclusions that have contested many of the claims made by Mr. Blair before the invasion.
  • The first is that the judgments of the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were “presented to the British Parliament with a certainty that was not justified”.
  • Second, the outcome of the invasion was underestimated by Mr. Blair, “despite explicit warnings”.
  • Third, planning for an Iraq after Saddam was “wholly inadequate”, and finally, the government “failed to realise its stated objectives”.
  • Mr. Blair faced particular criticism for pledging to support U.S. President George W. Bush the year before the invasion, writing: “I will be with you, whatever”.
  • In the report, Mr. Blair emerges as not just an obedient junior ally of the then U.S. President George W. Bush, but as a powerful backer and, sometimes, a step ahead of the U.S. President, first in pushing for regime-change in Iraq, and then endorsing military invasion as a means to carry it out.
  • While military action in Iraq “might have been necessary at some point”, the report notes that in March 2003, when the U.S.-U.K.-led coalition entered Iraq, “there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.”
  • More than 1,50,000 Iraqis had died by the time most of the British troops withdrew in 2009, while 179 British soldiers also lost their lives.
  • Seven years later, the country remains badly plagued by sectarian violence, as shown notably by Baghdad suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group which killed at least 250 people.


US ANNOUNCED THAT 8,400 TROOPS WILL REMAIN IN AFGHANISTAN INTO 2017

  • President Barack Obama announced that 8,400 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan into 2017 in light of the still “precarious” security situation in the war-ravaged country.
  • “Instead of going down to 5,500 troops by the end of this year, the United States will maintain approximately 8,400 troops in Afghanistan into next year through the end of my administration,” Mr. Obama told a news conference.
  • The current number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is 9,800.

 

INDIA WILL EXTEND CONCESSIONAL LOANS TO AFRICAN NATIONS DURING PM'S VISIT

  • India will extend concessional loans to African nations during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the region starting July 7.
  • The PM’s delegation will also hold talks to host the African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Gujarat next year.
  • Mr. Modi is slated to visit South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania, perceived to be the gateway to several landlocked African countries, during his five-day trip aimed at boosting economic and diplomatic ties.
  • India’s premier export finance institution Exim Bank will extend Lines of Credit (LoC — or concessional loans) worth $240 million to Kenya and Tanzania.
  • These LoCs are part of India’s plan to disburse $10 billion to Africa within the next three years.
  • The objective is also to enhance India’s cooperation with Africa in food security as well as to boost exports from India’s Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) to Africa especially to promote rural development.
  • Besides, India — having become a member of the African Development Fund (ADF) in 1982 and of AfDB in 1983 — will be looking to host the AfDB annual meet in 2017.
  • Of the $240 million, $92 million will be for a water supply project in Zanzibar (a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania in East Africa), while $30 million will be for the Kenyan government to upgrade and modernise a textile factory.
  • Another $15 million will be for Kenya’s IDB Capital Limited for supporting small and medium enterprises in that country.
  • The remaining over $100 million will be to boost agricultural projects in Kenya through export of agricultural equipments, machinery and tractors from India to improve Kenya’s farm productivity.
  • LoCs already extended to Kenya include $51 million for power transmission and $50 million for IDB Capital.
  • India’s currently active LoCs to Africa are worth around $18.65 billion. Mathur said this includes agreements already been signed and contracts awarded for around $15 billion to African nations under as many as 203 LoCs.

 

STATES COULD HAVE WORSENING FINANCIALS IN FY17: YES BANK

  • The State Governments saw worsening financials in the revised estimates for FY16 compared to the budget estimates for the year due to slowing revenue, which could become worse in FY17, according to a study by Yes Bank.
  • The study finds that the worsening financials are mainly due to declining revenue receipts by the states and the Centre. Factors like the Uday bonds to bail out ailing discoms have worsened the situation.
  • Other near-terms risks to state financials include the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections in the first half of 2017 and the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations.
  • Due to the unavailability of consolidated state finance numbers, the report analysed the budgets of 15 states accounting for about 78 per cent of India’s GDP to draw inferences about their fiscal positions in FY16 and FY17.
  • The fiscal deficit ratios for some states shot up significantly due to the issuance of Uday bonds, some states—Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP have fiscal deficit higher than the 3 percent even after excluding the Uday bonds.
  • Madhya Pradesh and Odisha will see higher-than-mandated fiscal deficit ratios in FY17 as well, according to the report.
  • Another factor that is likely to affect state finances are the upcoming elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the first half of 2017.
  • Similarly for Punjab, the report notes that the effect of elections seems to be more pronounced during the election year itself rather than in the year prior to elections.
  • If the expenditure in these two states grow at the historical rate observed during past elections, then the fiscal deficit ratio in Punjab could potentially rise to 4.4 per cent from the 2.9 per cent budgeted for FY17, and that in Uttar Pradesh could rise to 5.6 per cent from 3 per cent budgeted, according to the report.
  • The report finds that Gujarat and Jharkhand are most favourably placed in terms of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations due to their relatively smaller share of public sector employees and lower liability on pension, wages and salaries.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 03:50
 

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