Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 19 - AUGUST - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 19 - AUGUST - 2016
Saturday, 20 August 2016 03:03

 

 

 


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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

19- AUGUST - 2016

 

:: NATIONAL ::

PM’S INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH MENTIONS POK AND BALOCHISTAN

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a sharp attack on Pakistan for its support to terrorism and thanked the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for their recent messages of support.
  • Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, Mr. Modi, in an obvious reference to the recent incidents of atrocities against Dalits by cow vigilante groups, also called for social justice.
  • On the other hand, we have a situation where some people glorify terrorists in our country,” the Prime Minister said, without naming Pakistan that described the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander BurhanWani as a martyr.
  • In his 90-minute speech, Mr. Modi said that ever since he had asked the Pakistani establishment to look at human rights abuses in Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK, he had been flooded with messages of gratitude by the people of these areas.
  • “I am grateful to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK who have thanked me in the past few days. If people of Balochistan thank me, they are thanking the 125 crore Indians,” he said.
  • The Prime Minister had, in an all-party meeting on Kashmir last week, said that Pakistan had no business speaking about Jammu and Kashmir when it was “dropping bombs on its own citizens” in Balochistan and other areas.

IN A NOVEL INITIATIVE BY THE MYSURU DIVISION OF RAILWAYS USED DRONES

  • The Mysuru division recently completed an aerial survey of the ghat section between Sakleshpur and Subramanya using drones in view of the monsoon.
  • The concept evolved during their preparatory meeting, and since drones were used even for taking aerial shots by wedding photographers, one of them was commissioned for the task and it was completed in two days.
  • The drone deployed by the authorities provided them an aerial perspective by way of a high resolution video of nearly two hours which was closely studied and gave the Railway authorities better perspective to act.
  • It is customary for the zonal and divisional railways to take precautionary measures as part of the annual monsoon preparedness for which there is inspection of waterbodies, canals and reservoirs close to the railway tracks.
  • Identification of vulnerable sections based on local history of landslips, tree or boulders falling on tracks, identifying them and deputing personnel to take suitable action or closely monitor them.

COMMITTEE SAYS DRONES BETTER TO BE USED FOR CROP ESTIMATION

  • A committee tasked by the government’s apex planning body with studying how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used in crop insurance schemes has said drones trump satellite technology for the purpose.
  • The committee also maintained that sharing cadastral (land’s location, ownership, tenure) details, Aadhaar card and bank account details is “mandatory” for effective crop insurance policies.
  • The sub-committee is expected to submit its report to the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).
  • It is constituted of experts from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, weather technology firm Skymet and international reinsurance company Swiss Re.
  • There are several sub-groups too constituted by the NITI Ayog to look at ways to use technology in agriculture insurance schemes.
  • This year, the government launched the Pradhan MantriFasalBima Yojana (PMFBY), replacing the existing National Agricultural Insurance Scheme, which will allow farmers relatively lower premiums.
  • It also allows them to be insured against post-harvest losses. The States will bear the bulk of the premiums and farmers pay depending on the type of crop.
  • The government’s apparent objective is to increase the number of insured farmers from the current 20 per cent to 50 per cent within three years.
  • Though several crop insurance schemes are available, availing funds and determining the right price is a challenge.
  • The committee has recommended pilot surveys that can estimate varying risk profiles for different regions of the country, and that for schemes such as PMFBY, drones are a better bet than satellite imagery.

:: INDIA AND WORLD ::

MODERNISATION OF SU-30 FIGHTERS MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS

  • India and Russia made significant progress in the discussions for modernisation of all Su-30 fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the visit of a Russian team last month.
  • The upgrade will give the fight jets new avionics and radar, improved stealth characteristics to reduce the radar cross-section, better electronic warfare capability and new weapons.
  • Though the quantum of the deal is not finalised, some officials said it could be in the range of $7-8 billion.
  • Su-30 are the most modern fighters and the main stay of the IAF. Given the delay in procurement of new fighters, they are crucial for maintaining the combat edge of the IAF.
  • Discussions had been under way for some time for upgrading the aircraft to what was called ‘Super Sukhoi’, but the talks gained momentum recently.
  • India had signed the initial agreement with Russia in the late 1990s for procuring 50 Su-30 multi-role fighter jets in a fly-away condition.
  • Then, it ordered 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at Nasik.
  • Most of the aircraft to be made by HAL have been delivered, and the entire lot of 222 aircraft is expected to be completed in the next couple of years. The HAL has a production rate of 10-12 aircraft a year.
  • This comes in the backdrop of the delay in concluding the final deal for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to be developed by India and Russia, besides the delay in concluding an agreement for the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets and in the induction of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.
  • A preliminary design agreement was signed in 2010 between HAL and Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau to make the FGFA for use by both countries. So far, both sides have invested $295 million in the preliminary design.
  • But, the final agreement got stuck because of the disagreements over the work share and investment.

PM MODI BROUGHT THE BALOCH FREEDOM ISSUE AGAIN

  • PM Narendra Modi made a reference to the Baloch freedom struggle in his Independence Day speech, saying the people in the conflicted Pakistani state of Balochistan, as also in Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, had reached out to him.\
  • Pakistan responded by saying the statement “confirmed” India’s role there.
  • The reference comes a few days after the Prime Minister vowed to take up atrocities by the Pakistani government in these three areas on the international stage, when he spoke to an all-party delegation about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Since then, government officials say Mr. Modi had received many messages on social media from Baloch groups and Kashmiris around the world and in Pakistan thanking him for his support.
  • Within hours, Pakistan’s government responded to the Prime Minister’s comments on Balochistan.
  • Prime Minister’s decision to raise Balochistan in his speech was “unprecedented” as India has rarely referred to the freedom movement in the state, and has consistently denied any assistance to Baloch nationalists group as alleged by Pakistan.
  • While India claims Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK as its territory, the government has always steered clear of referring to Pakistan’s “internal troubles” in Balochistan, a former envoy said.
  • According to a former Pakistani diplomat, Jehangir Ashraf Qazi, Mr. Modi’s latest statement will “escalate the verbal conflict” between the two countries.
  • During his speech, Mr. Modi said he had reached out to Pakistan and other SAARC neighbours when he took office in 2014 because “our common enemy is poverty”.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

NEXT ROUND OF RCEP TRADE TALKS TO BEGIN IN VIETNAM

  • As the next round of RCEP trade talks begin in Vietnam, humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called for the removal of intellectual property (IP) provisions from the agreement.
  • The talks are scheduled for August 15-19.
  • According to the MSF, the provisions like patent term extensions and data exclusivity could hinder access to affordable drugs.
  • The RCEP is a deal being negotiated between the 10 ASEAN countries, and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all the drugs MSF purchases to treat HIV, TB and malaria are generic medicines from India; data exclusivity provisions under RCEP could delay the entry of generic medicines.

MOODY’S SAYS NEXT CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR SHOULD CONTINUE TIGHT POLICY

  • RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s policy of maintaining a tight leash on inflation has showed results and the Reserve Bank should continue with similar policies and communication going forward, Moody’s Investors Service has said.
  • Moody’s Investors Service Senior VP Sovereign Risk Group Marie Diron said credibility and effectiveness of monetary policy are factors which impact India’s sovereign ratings.
  • Moody’s has a ‘Baa3’ rating on India with a positive outlook.
  • A monetary policy with tight leash on inflation is important especially in India where, in the past, inflation had risen to very high levels, negatively affecting growth and investment prospects.
  • Consumer price index or retail inflation rose by 6.01 per cent in June, the fastest pace in 23 months and it is expected that the implementation of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) may push up inflation further.

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

SHASHI SHEKHAR COMMITTEE ON WORLD CULTURE FESTIVAL OF AOL SUBMITTED REPORT TO NGT

The Shashi Shekhar Committee was in news as the NGT directed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AOL) to submit its response within three weeks on the inspection report.

The report of the expert committee dealt with the damage caused to the Yamuna flood plains due to the World Culture Festival.

The festival was organised by the AOL in March 2016 along the River Yamuna in New Delhi.

The inspection report of the committee concluded that the event has caused damage to the riverbed.

Background

• The 5-member committee was formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the wake of allegations that the festival caused extensive damage to the biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna.

• The committee is headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and consisted of expert members from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

• The committee was asked to quantify the damage and furnish a tentative cost for restoration of the area within 45 days.

• So far, the AOL foundation had deposited 4.75 crore rupees as "environment compensation" with Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as directed by NGT for damaging Yamuna's biodiversity during the festival.

CLRI SCIENTIST P SHANMUGAM AWARDED WITH APJ ABDUL KALAM AWARD

Central Leather Research Institute's (CLRI) Principal Scientist P Shanmugam bagged the APJ Abdul Kalam Award for his meritorious services in the Higher Education Department of Tamil Nadu.

The award consists of a certificate, 5 lakh rupees cheque and a 8 gram gold medal.

Other Awards and Awardees

• The state government also bestowed the Kalpana Chawla Award for Courage and Daring Enterprise to Jayanthi from Namakkal District.

• On the other hand, Chief Minister's Best Practices Award was presented to Thanjavur District Collector N Subbaiyan and Superintendent of Police Mayilvahanan.

• Tamil Nadu Rural Development Minister S P Velumani and Principal Secretary of Rural Development Hansraj Verma received the award for solid waste management in rural areas.

• State Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar and Revenue Department, Prinicipal Secretary B Chandramohan received the award in the field of online patta transfer.

• Dindigul Corporation received the Best Corporation Award.

• Pattukottai Municipality received the Best Municipality First Prize while Perambalur Municipality bagged the second prize.

• The Chief Minister's State Youth Award was presented to K Masha Nazeem in women's category while in Men's category, P Ruban Santhosh bagged the award.

NAJMA HEPTULLAH APPOINTED AS GOVERNOR OF MANIPUR

Former Union Minister Najma Heptullah was appointed as the Governor of Manipur. With this, Heptullah will be the 18th Governor of the state.

Before her appointment, V Shamuganathan, the Governor of Meghalaya, was looking after the state of Manipur since September 2015.

Heptullah had resigned from the Union Ministry on 12 July 12 2016 as she completed 75 years of age.

Other Appointments

• Banwarilal Purohit was appointed as the Governor of Assam.

• VP Singh Badnore was made the Governor of Punjab.

• Prof Jagdish Mukhi was named Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in place of Lt Gen (Retd) AK Singh.

ASSAM ASSEMBLY PASSES ASSAM AMUSEMENTS AND BETTING TAX (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016

The Assam Assembly passed the Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

This bill will reduce the service charge of cinema tickets with an aim to boost to the local film industry. The government, however, raised the entertainment tax on cinema tickets by up to ten percentile points.

Provisions of the Bill

• The government proposed to make service charge 8 rupees per ticket for the halls without air conditioning system and 12 rupees for the halls with air conditioning system with back-up generator.

• The government also advised to increase the entertainment tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent at present for entry charges between 5 rupees and 20 rupees per ticket.

• There will be no entertainment tax if the entry charge is 5 rupees or less.

• It raised the government tax to 30 percent on service charge from the existing 20 percent.

• It proposes to fix the service charge at a maximum of 12 rupees per ticket, which is as high as 40 rupees at present.

• A cess of 1 rupee will be levied on each ticket for creating a welfare fund for film and theatre sectors.

ASSAM ASSEMBLY PASSES ASSAM AMUSEMENTS AND BETTING TAX (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2016

The Assam Assembly passed the Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

This bill will reduce the service charge of cinema tickets with an aim to boost to the local film industry. The government, however, raised the entertainment tax on cinema tickets by up to ten percentile points.

Provisions of the Bill

• The government proposed to make service charge 8 rupees per ticket for the halls without air conditioning system and 12 rupees for the halls with air conditioning system with back-up generator.

• The government also advised to increase the entertainment tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent at present for entry charges between 5 rupees and 20 rupees per ticket.

• There will be no entertainment tax if the entry charge is 5 rupees or less.

• It raised the government tax to 30 percent on service charge from the existing 20 percent.

• It proposes to fix the service charge at a maximum of 12 rupees per ticket, which is as high as 40 rupees at present.

• A cess of 1 rupee will be levied on each ticket for creating a welfare fund for film and theatre sectors.

INDIA POST PAYMENTS BANK INCORPORATED

The India Post Payments Bank Limited (IPPB) was incorporated. In this regard, it has received the Certificate of Incorporation (CI) from the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs under the Companies Act, 2013.

The incorporation also paves the way for the constitution of the Board of the India Post Payments Bank Limited.

Features of India Post Payments Bank Limited

• It will allow all citizens of India, especially the 40 percent of the country's population that is outside the ambit of formal banking in the country will benefit from this project.

• Its services will be available across the country through 650 payments bank branches, linked post offices and alternative channels riding on modern technology including mobiles, ATMs, PoS/m-PoS (mobile-Point of Sale) devices etc and simple digital payments.

• Coupled with the physical presence across 1.55 lakh post offices and the reach of “The Dakiya”, the India Post Payments Bank aims to become a powerful and effective vehicle of real financial inclusion in the country.

• It will generate new employment opportunities for skilled banking professionals and will generate opportunities for propagating financial literacy across the country.

• It will create the largest bank in the world in terms of accessibility and in time, will encourage the move towards a less cash economy.

Background

• Considering the pace with which the bank has been incorporated, this could be the fastest roll out for a bank anywhere in the world.

• Setting-up of the IPPB to further financial inclusion was one of the budgetary announcements in February 2015.

• The Department of Posts had obtained the "in-principle approval" of the RBI in September 2015 to set up the India Post Payments Bank.

• In June 2016, the Union Cabinet approved its formation with 100 percent Government of India (GOI) equity.

• The India Post Payments Bank will leverage the Department’s network, reach, and resources to make simple, low-cost, quality financial services easily accessible to customers all over the country.

• The DoP is expected to complete the roll out of its branches all over the country by September 2017.

• The aspiration for the India Post Payments Bank is to become the most accessible bank in the world riding on state of the art banking and payments technology.

 

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