Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 13 - AUGUST - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 13 - AUGUST - 2016
Saturday, 13 August 2016 06:58

 

 

 


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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

13- AUGUST - 2016

 

:: NATIONAL ::

CENTRE SAYS ATTACKS ON DALITS REDUCED IN LAST TWO YEARS

  • Home Minister decried attempts to “create an impression” that the NDA government was anti-Dalit
  • He also assured the Lok Sabha that his Ministry had told the State governments that strict and tough action should be taken against “any anti-social elements, whether in the name of Gau Raksha or any other cause”.
  • The government had, after two back-to-back speeches on the issue by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to give in to Opposition demands for a debate in the Lok Sabha.
  • “I do not want to go into State-wise figures on crimes against Dalits, but overall figures show that in 2013 the cases of violence against Dalits were 39,346, which rose to 40,300 in 2014 and came down again in 2015 to 38,564,” Mr. Singh said.

INDIA TO GIVE THIRD LARGEST MATERNITY LEAVE

  • The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill allows 26 weeks maternity leave as against 12 weeks permitted at present.
  • However, a woman who has two or more children will continue to get only 12 weeks maternity leave.
  • Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill would vault India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks allowed for maternity leave, behind Norway (44) and Canada (50).
  • However, a woman who has two or more children will continue to get only 12 weeks maternity leave.
  • For the first time, women adopting a newborn, aged below three, and ‘commissioning mothers’ will also be entitled to maternity benefits and will get leave for three months.
  • A commissioning mother is defined as “a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in another woman.”
  • The Bill has an enabling provision which states that if the “nature of work” permits, woman may also be allowed to ‘work from home’ after the period of maternity leave.
  • Establishments with at least 50 workers will have to provide crèche facilities within a certain distance and women will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day.

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE ON THE RISE AGAIN

  • Ukraine’s President put his Army on combat alert along the country’s de facto borders with Crimea as a war of words between Russia and Ukraine threatened to heat up the largely frozen conflict over the Black Sea peninsula.
  • Ukrainian President PetroPoroshenko issued the order after Moscow accused his country of sending in “saboteurs” to carry out attacks in Crimea.
  • Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 following a hastily called referendum, a move that sparked fighting between Russia-backed separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin upped the ante when he directly accused the Ukrainian government of plotting the attacks and called a meeting of the country’s top brass to discuss boosting security in Crimea.
  • Peace talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in 2015 helped ease the fighting but did not solve the crisis.
  • While the separatists never allowed Ukrainian forces to regain control of the border, Ukraine has also not adopted legislation to provide broad autonomy to these territories.

:: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ::

CLIMATE CHANGE COULD BRING BACK AGE OLD DISEASES

  • The fear now is that this is not a freak incident and that other diseases — some dating back to the Ice Age — could be unleashed as global warming thaws Russia’s icy northern expanses.
  • Russia is warming about 2.5 times more rapidly than the world’s average, and the Arctic region is warming quicker than the rest of the country.
  • Temperatures there in July were up to eight degrees higher than normal, reaching 34 degrees Celsius.
  • Anthrax is an infection spread by spores of the Bacillus anthracis bacteria which occurs naturally and can be ingested by livestock and passed to humans, usually through skin contact, causing black lesions. If left untreated it can be fatal.
  • Besides anthrax, there are plenty of other dangers lurking in shallow Arctic graves which might be unlocked from the ice after centuries, said Viktor Maleyev, deputy chief of Russia’s Central Research Institute of Epidemiology.
  • The total affected area in the region, together with an established buffer zone, is some 12,650 square kilometres.
  • Scientists lamented that instead of spending more money on studying the effects of climate change, science budgets are shrinking, and the government only allocates funds after emergencies and tragedies.

BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT TO BECOME LOT EASIER

  • Bone marrow transplants that do not require dangerous and often toxic chemotherapy could soon be possible, U.S. researchers said after seeing initial success with experiments on mice.
  • The method developed by a team of scientists at Stanford University mimics the approach used in immunotherapy, in which cancer patients undergo a treatment that trains their immune systems to attack tumour cells.
  • If it works in humans, it could help improve treatments for lupus, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, organ transplants and even cancer.
  • Currently, anyone receiving a bone marrow transplant — also known as a stem cell transplant — must undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill the patient’s own population of blood stem cells first.
  • That makes the potentially life-saving operation dangerous and even fatal for up to one in five patients. Organ, nerve and brain damage can also result.
  • So researchers devised a new approach that includes an antibody and biologic agents that helped the mice’s own immune systems deplete their blood-forming stem cells, making way for transplanted cells from a donor.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

GOVT TO BOOST CONNECTIVITY IN RURAL AREAS

  • About Rs.10,000 crore will be spent in the current financial year from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to execute various digital infrastructure projects to boost connectivity in rural areas.
  • This amount “is the highest in the history of USOF,” Telecom Secretary said at a seminar on 'ICT emerging technologies & USOF for Digital India.'
  • The USO Fund is maintained by the government. Under the New Telecom Policy, a provision was made to raise money for this fund through a ‘Universal Access Levy’, charged from operators as a percentage of various licenses fees being paid by them.

EASE OF DOING BUSINESS INDEX WILL BE IMPROVED AFTER GST

  • Union Finance minister said that the Goods and Services Tax regime, once implemented, will improve the ease of doing business in the country.
  • Mr. Jaitley said the NDA government is committed to making such enterprises more competitive and providing them access to capital.
  • Starting this year, the census of MSME units in the country will be done online instead of relying on physical surveys with the intention of creating a comprehensive database with real-time information on different enterprises.
  • This database will eventually be used for public procurement purposes and would also be used by public sector enterprises to scale up their purchases from small enterprises.
  • Separately, an online finance facilitation web portal was unveiled by the National Small Industries Corporation that provides credit support to MSME units for raw material purchases.
  • The portal will allow the MSMEs to apply for loans from the various banks.

TRAI INTRODUCED PORTAL TO ALLOW MOBILE PHONE USERS TO CHECK THE CALL DROP RATE

  • Telecom regulator TRAI introduced a portal that will allow mobile phone users to check the call drop rate, network coverage and call quality on their operators’ network.
  • This will bring in transparency about the network performance as consumers will be able to see if the call drop situation has changed.
  • Further, the regulator is likely to come out with a consultation paper on net neutrality and their final view on the issue of free data by the end of this month.

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

K M HANUMANTHARAYAPPA ASSUMES CHARGE AS CHAIRMAN OF CENTRAL SILK BOARD

K M Hanumantharayappa assumed charge as the Chairman of Central Silk Board, Union Ministry of Textiles for a period of three years. He is the 25th Chairman of the Central Silk Board.

He succeeds N S Bissegowda.

About K M Hanumantharayappa

• Hanumantharayappa is a sericulturist and a weaver.

• He is a senior political leader from Bharatiya Janata Party and hails from Doddaballapura, a traditional silk weaving cluster in Karnataka.

• He is the President of Karnataka State Nekarara Horata Samithi.

• He had served as a Member to the Central Silk Board during 2000-2002.

• He also served as Chairman, Karnataka Silk Marketing Board (KSMB) during 2010-2013.

• He had been awarded with the Best Agriculturist Award by the Government of Karnataka.

UNIT 1 OF KUDANKULAM NUCLEAR POWER PLANT DEDICATED TO NATION

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa dedicated Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to the nation.

Besides, PM Modi announced that five more reactors of 1000 megawatt each will come up in the same location.

About Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

The reactors are being built jointly by Nuclear Power Corporation of India andAtomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom (the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex).

The power plant is updated with most modern Russian technologies.

The first reactor of the plant attained criticality on 13 July 2013 at 11:05 P.M.

KKNPP was first synchronised to grid at 2:45 A.M. on 22 October 2013. Power generation from first nuclear reactor started on the same day.

Unit 1 was operating at 73% capacity by April 2014.

Unit 1 attained its maximum capacity of 1000 MWe at 1:20 P.M. on 7 June 2014.

It started commercial operation from 31 December 2014.

Almost 85 per cent of the funding of the project has come from the State loan of the Russian Federation.

Background

The Government of India signed a contract with the Soviet Union to build the plant in 1988.

However, the construction started only in 1997 due to the political and economic upheaval in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The construction of the first two units was later halted in September 2011 following protests by villagers around the plant.

Work at the plant finally resumed in March 2012.

The allocation from KKNPP-1&2 (2000 MW) include Tamil Nadu (925 MW), Karnataka (442 MW), Kerala (266 MW), Puducherry (67 MW) and 300 MW remains unallocated.

LOK SABHA PASSES TAXATION LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016

The Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill seeks to amend the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.

The Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on the same day was passed by voice vote after a short debate.

Features of the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016

• Income Tax Act, 1961

a) Demerger of public sector companies: The Bill clarifies that the provisions of demerger will apply in case of demerger of a public sector company and the resultant company is no longer a public sector company. The Companies Act, 1956 allowed companies to demerge (split) into multiple companies. As a result of the demerger, the income, expenses, and profits of the parent company are transferred to the resultant companies. The Income Tax Act, 1961 takes into account these transfers from the parent company for taxation of resultant companies.

b) Deduction in respect of employment of new employees: The bill decreases the period of employment of an employee of the businesses which manufacture apparel from 240 days to 150 days. Earlier, the existing Income Tax Act, 1961 allows businesses to obtain a deduction on taxable income to the extent of 30% of the cost of recruiting a new employee. The Act requires that the employee should have been employed for a minimum of 240 days in the previous year.

• Customs Tariff Act, 1975: The Bill proposes to increase the existing customs duty on imports of granite and marble blocks used for certain purposes from 10 percent to 40 percent.

Earlier in June 2016, Union Cabinet had approved a special package for employment generation and promotion of exports in textile and apparel sector.

NITI AAYOG TIES UP WITH US EIA TO SET UP PORTAL ON ENERGY DATA

National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog signed agreement with United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) to set up web portal on energy data.

The web portal will host all the data related to energy sector including oil & gas, coal, solar & thermal energy etc. NITI Aayog, a think tank of Union Government, is working to develop India's energy data agency which will take 3-4 years to develop.

Agreement with USAID & UK

Niti Aayog also signed Statement Of Principle (SOP) with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) of United Kingdom (UK) for collaboration in the area of energy research.

Through this agreement, the Aayog aims to host all the data related to energy sector in the country including oil and gas, coal, solar and thermal energy, much on the lines of the Energy Information Administration of US.

M S SUBBULAKSHMI TO BE HONOURED BY A R RAHMAN AT UN ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

Renowned carnatic vocalist M. S. Subbulakshmi will be honoured at the United Nations, India’s 70th Independence Day, by a performance by A.R. Rahman at the United Nations General Assembly.

With this, Rahman will become the second Indian artist after Subbulakshmi to perform at the UN.  She was invited by the then UN Secretary General U Thant to perform at the UN headquarters in 1966.

About M S Subbulakshmi

Born on 16 September 1916, Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi was a Carnatic vocalist.

She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award in 1974.

She gave her first performance at the prestigious Madras Music Academy in 1929 when she was 13 years old.

She passed away on 11 December 2004 at the age of 88.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 04:36