Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 17 - AUGUST - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 17 - AUGUST - 2016
Saturday, 20 August 2016 02:35

 

 

 


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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

17- AUGUST - 2016

 

:: NATIONAL ::

GOVT NOTIFIES SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO OBC LIST

  • The Union government has notified several significant changes to the Central List of OBCs toward including, amending and deleting the list pertaining to Andhra Pradesh, and for including several OBCs in the list for Telangana.
  • This is based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), a permanent body that determines the backwardness or otherwise of a caste/community.
  • 87 castes/communities have been included in the Telangana list, making them eligible for reservation.
  • Significant inclusions are the Dasari and Jangam communities, which are traditionally engaged in begging, and the Odde and Kurmi communities.
  • The Commission is empowered under an Act of Parliament to examine requests for the inclusion of any class of citizens as a Backward Class in the list, take up claims on a periodic basis for consideration and recommendation.
  • It is also empowered to hear complaints of over-inclusion and under-inclusion of any Backward Class in such lists, and advise the Central Government as it deems appropriate.
  • It was constituted underSection 3 of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 (27 of 1993) as a follow up to the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations.

ELEPHANT CORRIDORS IDENTIFIED BY WWF-INDIA

  • The Wayanad leg of a Central project to restore elephant corridors has remained a non-starter owing to the apathy of Revenue Department officials and lack of coordination between departments.
  • The project is aimed at mitigating human-wildlife conflict in Wayanad.
  • The studies suggested the revival of the Pakramthalam-Periya, Periya-Kottiyur, Nilambur-Gudallur, Thirunelly-Kuddrakode, and South Wayanad-Malabar sanctuary elephant corridors in the Wayanad region.
  • The Forest Department had given priority to the Periyar-Kottiyur corridor, which connects the North Wayanad forest division and the Aralam WildlifeSanctuary.
  • The Centre approved the project in 2007 at an estimate of Rs.7.89 crore and allocated Rs.4.5 crore in 2008.

STATE OF INDIAN JUDICIARY REPORT POINTS TOWARDS NEED FOR REFORMS

  • The average hearing time for listed cases on a particular day in an Indian high court could be as little as two minutes, according to an analysis of cases pending in 21 high courts.
  • The findings come from the “State of The Indian Judiciary” report released on Wednesday by the Banga- lore-based research organisation DAKSH.
  • Their “Rule of Law Project” aims to move the discussion beyond merelythe total number of pending cases in India — estimated to be around three crore — to investigate the problem of pendency of cases.
  • This finding is key to judicial reform, the report says, as it is an indicator of the stress faced by judges on a daily basis.
  • The research found that around 82 per cent of cases in high courts have been pending for 10 to 15 years.
  • The Allahabad High Court has the highest average pendency among all Indian high courts, with a case pending for an average of a little more than three years and nine months, whereas the High Court of Sikkim has the lowest average pendency of 10 months.

DESPITE DIFFERENCES ON MOP UNION GOVT IS FAST TRACKING JUDICIAL PROCESS

  • Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government is fast-tracking the process of filling up judicial vacancies.
  • Govt will not let the long-drawn process of finalisation of a new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for judicial appointments stall fresh appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  • Seeking to dispel doubts that the government was delaying judicial appointments, Mr. Prasad said in fact the government had written to the Chief Justice of India that the finalisation of the MoP should not detain judicial appointments.
  • The Law Minister said the government was drafting the MoP on the very lines of the Supreme Court judgment of December 16, 2016.

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

INDIA- CHINA TALKS ABOUT INDIA’S ENTRY INTO NSG

  • India on Saturday offered a new “mechanism” of talks to China on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issue.
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also expressed concern to the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
  • The proposed talks featuring the Directors-General on disarmament issues on both sides would be a new track to convince China about India’s needs to be integrated into the global nuclear technology market.
  • External Affairs Minister outlined importance of meeting our clean energy goals in the context of COP-21. Offered to discuss any technical issues China may have. It was agreed that the DGs of Disarmament of the two countries would meet soon.
  • The proposal for a separate track for discussion on nuclear issues came weeks after India failed to get into the NSG during the June 23-24 plenary of the organisation in Seoul.
  • India had said “only one country” (indirectly referring to China) had raised a procedural objection to India’s inclusion into the NSG.
  • China had opposed India’s candidature saying that its application for membership lacked merit as India had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • So far, India and China maintained the mechanism of bilateral dialogue at the level of Special Representatives (SR), which covers comprehensive diplomatic and strategic affairs.
  • Ms. Swaraj also “urged” China to reconsider its opposition to India’s UN-level campaign to blacklist Pakistan-based terror mastermind Masood Azhar, who is wanted for his role in multiple terror attacks including in Pathankot.
  • China had placed a “technical hold” or a diplomatic note of opposition to India’s campaign to include Azhar on the list of “globally designated terrorists”.
  • The “technical hold” will turn into a formal blockade in early September unless China cooperates.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

OFF-GRID SOLAR CAN MEET INDIA’S POWER DEMAND

  • The slow pace of capacity addition in the solar sector has created room for a variety of off-grid solar solutions to grow and provide electricity to those as yet not connected to the power grid, according to a private sector industry leader.
  • Off-grid solar is increasingly being viewed as the way to bring sustainable and cheap lighting to the vast segments of India that are yet to be connected to the electricity grid, especially in difficult terrain.
  • “Over 300 million people in India don’t have access to the electricity grid and are living in complete darkness,” Ms. Modi added.
  • The coming together of various factors, both external and domestic, has meant that there are several types of household solar products entering the market, ranging from simple solar lanterns powered by in-built solar panels, to entire solar invertors that use rooftop solar panels.
  • These off-grid solar solutions, apart from helping the government meet its renewable energy target, also provide economical savings — both to the government and the consumer.
  • “The government is spending Rs.30,000 crore a year on importing kerosene, which is a complete waste of foreign exchange,” Ms. Modi said.
  • “The average rural household uses 18 litres of kerosene a month, 12 of which are used only for lighting. The rest is for cooking. They spend Rs.150 a month only on kerosene.”
  • However, despite some cost factors easing in the off-grid solar industry, others still pinch, leading to economic activity that could have taken place in India moving to China instead.
  • The battery makes up 30 per cent of the cost of the product, according to Ms Modi, and the company has to pay a 30 per cent duty on its import. This renders making solar lanterns and invertors in India economically unviable.

GOVT TO DO AWAY WITH THE MINIMUM EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATION FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT DRIVERS

  • The Centre has proposed doing away with the minimum educational qualification for public transport drivers.
  • At present, it is compulsory for drivers of all commercial vehicles, such as buses, trucks and taxis, to clear class VIII at the school-level before applying for a driving licence.
  • The Centre has proposed diluting this requirement in the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill of 2016 which was introduced in Lok Sabha earlier this week.
  • Taxi drivers may no longer need to have one year’s driving experience in a private vehicle before being eligible for a commercial vehicle licence, provided that one has undergone specialised training from any government accredited driving school.
  • At present, driving a private vehicle for at least one year is a must before one can get a learner’s licence to drive a public transport vehicle.
  • As per the plan, the Central government will empower a body to certify schools to impart training to aspirant drivers across the country.
  • The official said that a “structured training programme” will be formulated by the Centre, possibly with the help of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) so that faster issuance of transport licences is possible.
  • The training programme will likely be for 2-3 months and may focus on core driving skills, latest technology exposure, vehicle maintenance, soft skills, discipline and health and hygiene of the drivers, the official said.Remedial training
  • At present, after the applicant has failed the test of competence more than three times, he or she can re-apply only after two months of appearing for the test.
  • Now, the applicant will also have to undergo this remedial training course compulsorily.

CENTRE MAY EASE REGULATORY NORMS FOR EXIM BANK, ECGC

  • The Commerce Ministry to consider measures to strengthen state-owned export promotion firms — Exim Bank and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC).
  • Exim Bank is India’s premier export finance institution, while ECGC provides credit risk insurance cover for Indian exporters and offers overseas investment insurance to Indian companies.
  • The proposals being considered include more financial support from the government to augment the two companies’ capital, allowing them to retain the dividend amount instead of the current practice of paying it to the government.
  • The move comes amidst the ministry’s efforts to ensure a major turnaround in the country’s merchandise exports, which contracted 6.84 percent year-on-year to $21.69 billion in July.
  • The Board of Trade (an industry-government body set up for recommending ways to boost India’s exports) had in April suggested that it was important to strengthen Exim Bank and ECGC.
  • On the need for more capital from the government, the sources said Exim Bank has sought Rs.1,700 crore for 2016-17 but the budgetary support for it this fiscal is only Rs.500 crore.
  • Regarding ECGC on these two fronts, they said in the last ten years (since 2005-06), ECGC has paid the government Rs.798 crore as dividend and another Rs.132 crore as dividend distribution tax, thereby a total of about Rs.930 crore.
  • On the other hand, the government has given ECGC a budgetary support of just Rs.600 crore in the ten years since 2005-06.
  • It has also been proposed to increase its leverage ratio, a mix of owners’ equity and debt to finance the company’s operations, from a low level of around 11 times the bank’s Net-Owned Funds (NOF) to at least 15 times its NOF initially.

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

MANJULA CHELLUR APPOINTED AS CHIEF JUSTICE OF BOMBAY HIGH COURT

Manjula Chellur was appointed as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court with effect from 24 August 2016. Presently, she is the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court.

She succeeds DH Waghela, who retired as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on 10 August 2016. Waghela held the post for a brief six months.

Chellur will be only second woman Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court after Sujata Manohar who served the office in 1994. She is scheduled to retire in 2017.

About Manjula Chellur

• Born in 1955 in Karnataka, Chellur started practising as a lawyer in Karnataka.

• She was the first woman advocate to practice in Bellary district and later in 1988, she became a district judge.

• In 2000, she became a permanent judge of the Karnataka High Court.

• In 2012, she was appointed as Chief Justice of Kerala High Court and was transferred to Calcutta High Court in 2014.

ANITA WLODARCZYK BREAKS WORLD RECORD TO WIN GOLD IN HAMMER THROW

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk broke her own women’s hammer world record to win the gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

Wlodarczyk’s winning mark was 82.29m.

China’s Wenxiu Zhang won the silver medal with a mark of 76.75m. Sophie Hitchon of Great Britainearned the bronze medal.

About Anita Wlodarczyk

Anita Wlodarczyk is a Polish hammer thrower.

She is first woman in history to throw the hammer over 80 m.

She currently holds the women's world record of 82.29 m.

She is considered the greatest women’s hammer thrower of all time.

She won her first national U23 championships in 2007.

She finished sixth in the hammer throw competition at the 2008 Olympic Games.

She took part in the 2009 European Team Championships winning her first gold medal at a major international competition.

On 1 August 2015, she set a new world record with a throw of 81.08 metres and became the first woman to throw the hammer over 80 metres.

UNION GOVERNMENT CONSTITUTED NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON TRADE FACILITATION

The Union Government constituted the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).

The committee seeks to develop the pan-India road map for trade facilitation as per the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Earlier, on 22 April 2016, India ratified the TFA which is an outcome of the Bali Package 2013 or Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO.

Features of NCTF

• It is an inter-ministerial body on trade facilitation.

• It will act as a national level body that will facilitate domestic co-ordination and implementation of TFA provisions.

• It will play lead role in developing the pan-India road map for trade facilitation.

• It will synergise the various trade facilitation perspectives across the country.

• The focus will be on outreach programmes for sensitization of stakeholders about it.

• The committee will also be responsible for identifying the nature of required legislative changes and spearheading the diagnostic tools needed for assessing compliance to TFA.

• It will have a 3-tier structure with main national committee for monitoring implementation of TFA.

• At the apex level, it will be headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha.

UBI LAUNCHED USSD BASED *99# MOBILE APPLICATION FOR BASIC BANKING NEEDS

The Union Bank of India (UBI) launched an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) based *99# Mobile Application for their customers for basic banking needs.

It was launched in partnership with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in the country. 
Highlights of the *99# mobile application

• It can be downloaded in an android smartphone from the Google Play Store by the bank customers.

• It can be used even without any internet connection as it does not require any data and is available in 10 languages.

• It provides basic banking facilities like checking account balance, sending money, Mobile PIN (MPIN) management.

• Besides, it provides value added services like checking Aadhaar linked overdraft status and PMJDY account overdraft status.

About Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)

• USSD is a GSM based technology used to send text between a mobile phone and an application program in the network.

• It is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider’s computers.

• Unlike Short Message Service (SMS) messages, USSD messages create a real-time connection during a USSD session. So they are more responsive than services that use SMS.

• It can be used for prepaid callback service, WAP browsing, mobile-money services, location-based content services, menu-based information services etc.

HINDUSTAN COPPER LIMITED INAUGURATED NICKEL PRODUCTION FACILITY IN GHATSILA

Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) inaugurated the Nickel, Copper and Acid Recovery Plant of Hindustan Copper Limited at Indian Copper Complex, Ghatsila in Jharkhand.

This is the first facility in India to produce Nickel metal of LME grade from primary resource.

Key features of the facility

• This project will utilize an eco-friendly technology and will check pollution by eliminating the use of lead.

• It will have reduced liquid effluent, generate 75 percent less solid waste, utilize less energy, provide safe working environment and utilize and conserve natural resources.

• At present the capacity of the plant is 50 MT per annum, considering the current production rate from the Surda mines.

• The Nickel output is expected to increase by eight times after the completion of mine expansion projects located at Ghatsila.

Background

• The annual demand for pure Nickel in India is around 45000 MT and its market in the country is totally dependent on import.

• Currently, Copper is recovered from bleed electrolyte as liberator cathode having only 50-90 percent Copper content, and liberator sludge with 50-60 percent Copper content.

• Interestingly, the process consumes around 30 MT LME-A grade Copper starter sheet per annum.

• The proposed project will replace the age-old process of liberator cell operation with EMEW & APU technology in the Refinery.

 

 

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Last Updated on Saturday, 20 August 2016 02:51