Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 14 - NOVEMBER - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 14 - NOVEMBER - 2016
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Saturday, 10 December 2016 05:25

 

 

 



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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

14- NOVEMBER - 2016

 

:: NATIONAL ::

CONFUSION OVER INDIA AND JAPAN NUCLEAR DEAL

  • Indian and Japanese officials continued to wrangle over the legality of a document signed as part of the nuclear deal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tokyo.
  • The document indicates a link between nuclear testing and the cancellation of the deal.
  • While government say the document is “not legally binding,” a Japanese official insisted the document had been signed by the nuclear negotiators in the presence of Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi, and hence “legally binding.”
  • The ‘Note on Views and Understanding’ contains contentious clauses that effectively allow Japan to invoke an “emergency” suspension of supplies if India were to test a nuclear weapon, and to contest any compensation claims from India in court.
  • India has traditionally refused to link its nuclear trade with pre-conditions on testing, holding it is a matter of nuclear sovereignty, and instead giving a voluntary moratorium on tests.
  • In response to questions about the differences, government sources said the note is simply a “record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues,” given “Japan’s special sensitivities as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack.”

PM MODI MADE AN EMOTIONAL APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE

  • Four days after he announced the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an emotional appeal to Indians to give him 50 days to rid the country of black money.
  • He also promised more measures against the menace and asked the people to take the inconvenience in their stride.
  • The Prime Minister returned from Japan and attended three public functions in Goa, Belgavi in Karnataka and in Pune respectively, where he appealed for support in his drive against black money and corruption.
  • Reflecting the amount of political capital he had invested in the move, Mr. Modi almost broke down when he recalled his political journey:
  • “I am not here to just occupy a chair, I left my home, I left my family to do something for the country.”
  • Mr. Modi spoke in Goa first, after he digitally laid the foundation stone for a new greenfield airport at the Mopa plateau.
  • “I know what kind of forces and what kind of people are against me now. I am looting what they had accumulated over 70 years,” he said, adding that he apprehended a threat to his life due to his strong stance against corruption.
  • “They will not leave me alive. They will destroy me. Let them do what they want. The nation should just help me for 50 days,” he said.
  • He further assured the nation that the demonetisation drive was not the end of his campaign against corruption and black money.

UN ASKS FOR PATIENCE FROM INDIA REGARDING MASOOD AZHAR

  • India must show patience on its counter-terrorism concerns, says the U.N.’s senior most official on the issue of designating JeM chief Masood Azhar and implementing U.N. sanctions against LeT leaders Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rahman in Pakistan.
  • “India and all member states should understand that [the U.N. processes] take time and they must continue to cooperate,” said Jean Paul Laborde.
  • He is the Executive Director of the Security Council’s counter-terrorism body, CTED, that was formed under resolution 1373 after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. to help countries work together on prosecuting terrorists.
  • Mr. Laborde was in Delhi to address the concerns over the slow processing of India’s applications with the U.N. on terror.
  • Chief among those is the early ratification of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terror (CCIT) that India introduced in 1996. The CCIT has been held up at the U.N. by several countries, mainly the U.S. and France.

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

TRUMP’S VICTORY PUTS DOUBTS OVER PARIS AGREEMENT

  • As Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential polls was confirmed, delegations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (COP 22) in Marrakech considered the prospect American pull out of the Paris Agreement.
  • Mr. Trump’s presidency could freeze progress on the climate pact that entered into force on November 4. The U.S. could also ignore its voluntary climate action commitments under the Paris Agreement and cut funding for climate finance.
  • U.S. special envoy for climate change, denied the likelihood of his country withdrawing from the Paris Agreement at a pre-COP22 briefing session.
  • He said because of domestic advantages in staying in the agreement, the U.S. may not exercise the provisions for withdrawal in Article 28 of the Agreement.
  • Mr. Pershing also said investment opportunities opened up by the Agreement in renewables were significant.
  • Domestic circumstances such as flooding in Florida, superstorm Sandy and drought were real consequences, and required the U.S. to continue with its promise.
  • On a Kyoto Protocol-like situation, he said unlike that Protocol, the Paris Agreement was not a top-down international treaty.

TRUMP VOWS TO DEPORT 3 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

  • Donald Trump will keep his vow to deport millions of undocumented migrants from the United States, he said in an interview, saying that as many as three million could be removed after he takes office.
  • “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million -— we are getting them out of our country.
  • The billionaire real estate baron made security at the U.S.-Mexico border a central plank of his insurgent presidential campaign, which resulted in last Tuesday’s shock election victory against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
  • Mr. Trump added that the barrier to be erected on the U.S. border with Mexico may not consist entirely of brick and mortar, but that fencing could be used in some areas.
  • During the election campaign, Mr. Trump had warned that for countries which do not accept these illegal immigrants, he would enforce the legal provision of stopping of issuing of visas to their people.
  • Mr. Trump said he would take a call on the fate of the rest of the illegal immigrants after the border is secured.

:: INDIA AND WORLD ::

INDIA GETS STRONG SUPPORT FROM U.K. AND FRANCE FOR UNSC

  • India’s bid for a permanent seat in a reformed U.N. Security Council has received a strong support from many U.N. member-states, including the U.K. and France.
  • More than 50 speakers shared their suggestions and concerns over reform of the 15-nation UNSC during a General Assembly session.
  • Among the large number of nations supporting a permanent seat for India and other emerging powers like Brazil and Germany were two veto-wielding permanent members of the Council, the United Kingdom and France.
  • German Ambassador to the U.N. Harald Braun said the Council reform was an urgent matter.
  • India’s Ambassador to the U.N. Syed Akbaruddin lamented the “never-ending carousel of discussions” on UNSC reforms saying “it is time to break the impasse” to urgently reform the U.N. body that is “unresponsive” to the current global situation.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

IN THE WAKE OF DEMONETISATION UNIONS HAVE CALLED OFF STRIKE

  • Trade unions have postponed their strike plans to help Centre’s demonetisation process proceed without any hindrance.
  • Representatives of the All India Grameen Bank Workers Organisation and the All India Grameen Bank Officers Organisation on Sunday met officials of the Department of Financial Services to discuss the strike.
  • The Grameen Bank workers were threatening to go on strike due to issues with the Government on payment parity, lack of pension, and gratuity and overtime issues.
  • The Grameen unions had earlier on October 29 called for a nation-wide dharna on November 21 and December 5-7. All such agitations have been deferred to the first week of January 2017.
  • Additionally, the Federation of LPG Distributors of India wrote to Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stating that they too would be deferring their agitation in light of the demonetisation move.
  • The LPG distributors were set to launch a nation-wide strike on December 1 and an indefinite strike starting December 15 if Mr Pradhan’s office failed to hold talks regarding safety concerns they had raised about the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

MICRO FINANCE SECTOR WORST HIT BY THE DEMONETISATION

  • The country’s micro finance sector (MFI), which essentially extends small loans to the poor and weaker section of the society, is one of the worst hit by the demonetisation move of the Centre.
  • The micro finance sector extends loans and well as accepts repayments in cash. With Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes being demonetised, both business and recovery of loans have been impacted badly.
  • Repayments have fallen to below 10 per cent since the demonetisation drive, which is typically 100 per cent for micro lenders. Loans worth Rs.650 crore has become over due and the numbers will go up.
  • Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) — the self regulatory body of micro lenders — has written to both the Finance Ministry as well as the banking regulator for allowing them to accept Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 bank notes.
  • The micro finance institutions which are a part of MFIN, has 3.5 crore customers from low income households across India, of which ‘99.9 per cent is women’, Ms. Viswanathan said.
  • Centre’s demonetisation move has led to a spike in the usage of debit and credit cards, especially in the small ticket size segment as currency notes are increasingly becoming scarce in banks and ATMs.
  • The usage of cards for transactions less than Rs.500 has more than doubled since November 8, when the government announced that Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes would no longer be accepted as legal tender.
  • Consumers have been mostly using cards to pay for everyday essential things like grocery and medicines apart from categories like entertainment and restaurants.
  • A further analysis of the data shows that the number of online transactions of less than Rs.250 increased by 177 per cent post demonetisation. Further, transactions in the range of Rs.250-500 rose 135 per cent.
  • The surge in the Rs.500-750 bracket has been only 75 per cent while there has been no notable spike in transactions worth over Rs.750.
  • Industry participants agree that the Centre’s move would lead to an increase in the usage of credit and debit cards leading to the twin objectives of financial inclusion and making India a cashless society.
  • Interestingly, overall increase in transactions is more skewed towards debit cards with over 70 per cent surge when compared to the 40 per cent rise in credit card usage.
  • Categories like entertainment, restaurant and liquor saw a jump in the range of 160-190 per cent suggesting that consumers are not postponing their spending but just migrating from cash to cards.

DEMONETISATION TO HELP IN REMOVING FAKE NOTES AS WELL AS ECONOMY WILL BECOME CASHLESS

  • The withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes may have come as a bolt from the blue. But it appears to be a part of a calculated process set in motion way back in January 2014.
  • The fulcrum of that larger process revolves around addressing the twin menace afflicting the decision-making exercise of the economy managers.
  • The unaccounted pockets of the economy and illegal notes together combine to render policy initiatives ineffective and redundant.
  • Reserve Bank of India had sought to crack the whip on this way back in January 2014 by deciding to withdraw completely from circulation all bank notes issued prior to 2005.
  • The idea then was to replace the older notes with new ones with hugely beefed-up security features.
  • By withdrawing these notes, the RBI, it was pointed out, wanted to weed out fake notes in the system if any and also ensure that faking becomes difficult and costly by introducing new notes with tighter security features.
  • A series efforts to have a connected web by linking Aadhar number, PAN number and bank account and the like have all been carefully calibrated to push a steady movement towards an organized system.
  • The prevalence of a vast space outside the organised sector, it is pointed out, is making things difficult for the policy planners to offer precisely workable prescriptions.
  • On many an occasion, the RBI bosses have stressed this limiting factor.Given all these, the de-monetisation cannot be treated as an isolated exercise but must be viewed as a larger effort to push the society into a cashless one.
  • Viewed from a holistic perspective, the latest move should be judged by the efficacy or otherwise of the system to capture all sorts of financial transactions – small and big ones alike.
  • Hopefully, this could help bring in a sense of fairness and equity in the economy. At the same time, one expects this to facilitate policy formulators arriving at reasonably accurate diagnosis for the ills of the economy in a dynamic situation.
  • Short-term pains in the transition process have already thrown up a host of logistical imponderables, pushing the BJP Government at the Centre in a tight corner.
  • Notwithstanding the transitory political risks in the move, the long-term gains are bound to bring about a major metamorphosis in the way the financial affairs are managed in India.

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

INDIA, JAPAN SIGNED 10 AGREEMENTS INCLUDING NUCLEAR DEAL, SPACE, AGRICULTURE

India and Japan signed ten agreements to boost the bilateral cooperation between the two nations. The agreements were inked in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

Prime Minister was on a three-day visit (10 November to 12 November 2016) to Japan. Agreements/MoUs that were inked and exchanged includes

Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy: The present Agreement provides for bilateral cooperation in the field of Nuclear Energy. This would provide for the development of nuclear power projects in India and thus strengthening of energy security of the country. The present agreement would open up the door for collaboration between Indian and Japanese industries in our Civil Nuclear programme.

Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on the Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Program: The MoC that envisages to train 30000 Indian youth in the Japanese style manufacturing in the next 10 years was inked between the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.

This would be achieved through the programmes of Japan-India Institute for Manufacturing (JIM) and the Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in select Engineering colleges. Japanese companies would be encouraged to set-up JIM by utilising their CSR fund while JEC will be supported by Government of Japan through technical experts. Programmes under this MoC would contribute to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Cooperation in the Field of Outer Space: The present MoU inked between ISRO and JAXA provide for cooperation in satellite navigation, planetary exploration and space industry promotion. It also seeks for joint missions and studies, joint workshops and training, joint use of ground systems for mutual support, and personnel exchange. It also seeks to establish JWG and sign Implementing Arrangements to carry out specific cooperative projects.

MoU on Mutual Collaboration in Marine and Earth Science and Technology: This MoU aims at promoting cooperation in the areas of joint survey and research. It also aims to promote an exchange of scientific visits by researchers and experts, joint scientific seminars and workshops and exchange of information, data and studied results. It also seeks to promote cooperation in any other mutually agreed forms of cooperation. Agreements for cooperation in specific activities will be taken up by concerned agencies subsequent to the signing of this MoU.

This agreement was signed between Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

MoC in the Field of Agriculture and Food Related Industry: It aims at deepening the bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food industries that includes food value chain networking and protecting Geographical Indication (GI) of agriculture products. The MoC is a framework document which would later provide for specific agreements between concerned agencies on both sides.

The pact was signed between the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

MoU for Transport and Urban Development: The pact seeks to enable cooperation between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation. The cooperation includes promotion in investment in infrastructure projects in railways and transport, toll roads, urban development, port and airport terminals, logistics and any supporting industries for these sectors. The MoU also enables the two sides to explore opportunities to set up an NIIF-JOIN joint fund.

MoU in the Field of Textiles: The MoU that aims to improve the quality of Indian Textiles for conformity assessment for Japanese market was signed between Textiles Committee of Union Ministry of Textiles and Japan Textiles Products Quality and Technology Centre (QTEC). It involves capacity building measures for the Textiles Committee and aligns the Indian Quality Control measures in line with Japanese market and technical standards.

MoC in the Field of Cultural Exchange: It seeks to provide a framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of Sports ahead of the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics & Paralympics. Under this MoC the two sides would seeks to promote

a) Training of athletes and coaches

b) Programmes for sports science and anti-doping

c) Programmes for developing sports education, infrastructure and management

d) Exchange visits of sports leaders, administrators, professionals and experts

As per the MoC, a specific cooperative mechanism will be pursued by respective sports agencies in their specified areas of activities. The MoC was signed between the Union Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Government of Japan.

MOU for cooperation in the fields of academics, business, cultural cooperation, disaster management and environmental protection: It was signed between the State Government of Gujarat and Hyogo Prefectural Government, Japan. As per the agreement, a steering committee will be constituted to oversee the implementation of the MOU. It will also identify the agencies to carry out designated activities.

Department of Industries & Mines of Government Gujarat and International Affairs Bureau of Hyogo Prefectural Government have been identified as the contact points for developing project activities under this MOU.

MENG HONGWEI ELECTED AS INTERPOL PRESIDENT

Meng Hongwei, a top-level Chinese Security Minister was elected as the president of the International Crime fighting and police cooperation organization (Interpol). Meng will serve as President until 2020.

With this appointment, Meng Hongwei becomes the first official from China to take the post. He has previously served as the head of Interpol China. At the time of this appointment, he was holding the position of China’s Vice Minister for public security.

He was sworn into his new position on 10 November 2016 at the closing of the organisation’s 85th general assembly in Bali, Indonesia.

Meng Hongwei

•    Meng has almost 40 years’ experience in criminal justice and policing

•    He had overseen affairs related to legal institutions, narcotics control, counter-terrorism, border control, immigration and international cooperation.

•    Earlier, he had held many positions in the Ministry of Public Security like Director-General of the Traffic Control Department, Director of the Patrol Police Division, Assistant Minister and Vice Minister.

•    He also served as Vice Chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission, Member of the Chinese Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure and Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office. He also serves as Director-General of the China Coast Guard.

About Interpol

•    The organization was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Lyon, France.

•    It is the second largest international organisation after the United Nations with 190 members.

•    It plays an important role in deepening global police cooperation and tackling transnational criminal offenses.

The Concerns

•    Election of Meng Hongwei, a Chinese national, to the world’s largest law enforcement agency turned up to be a reason for concern. His appointment is a concern for human right advocates because he belongs to the nation, where human right abuses are visible.

•    Interpol with its many human rights abuse cases looks to be an ideal tool for political enforcement of a one party system.

•    Previous incidents reveal China’s attempts to use Interpol red notices, which place people on global wanted lists, against political dissidents:
-    One such example is of Dolkun Isa, who in spite of being granted political asylum by Germany has been placed on the Interpol’s red notice by China.

-    Isa is the head of the World Uyghur Congress that speaks on behalf of Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minority living in China's Xinjiang province.

-    Another example is that of Li Dongsheng, a former Vice Minister of Public Security who was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment in a corruption charge by a Chinese court in Tianjin. He was a protégé of disgraced former head of China's security services, Zhou Yongkang who was awarded life imprisonment in June 2015 for corruption offenses.

Meng Hongwei took over from France’s Mireille Ballestrazzi. His tenure will be for 4 years. His primary duty will include chairing meetings of the Interpol’s Executive Committee and ensuring the implementation of decisions made at the General Assembly.

SHARAPOVA TO RETURN AS UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR

United Nations in a statement said that the tennis star Maria Sharapova will once again be its goodwill ambassador. She will be re-appointed as UN Goodwill ambassador after her doping ban expires in April 2017 and she returns to international tennis competition.

Maria Sharapova receives two-year suspension for failing drug test

Maria Sharapova was suspended as the goodwill ambassador on 15 March 2016 after she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at 2016 Australian Open. Her suspension ended her nine-year-long partnership with the UN development programme.

The five-time grand slam winner was named as a goodwill ambassador in February 2007.

UN suspended Maria Sharapova as goodwill ambassador after doping allegations

Earlier in October 2016, the Russian star's 24-month ban for testing positive for meldonium was cut to 15 months by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. Sharapova had admitted using meldonium for 10 years to help treat illnesses, a heart issue and a magnesium deficiency.

ADITI ASHOK BECOMES FIRST INDIAN TO WIN LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR TITLE

Indian golfer Aditi Ashok became the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour title by clinching the Hero Women's Indian Open.

Ashok shot an even par-72 in the final round to win the title.

The golfer took her total score to three-under 213, one stroke clear of Brittany Lincicome of the US and Spaniard Belen Mozo who finished tied second.

About Aditi Ashok

Aditi Ashok is an Indian professional golfer.

She made history by being the youngest and first Indian to win the Lalla Aicha Tour Schooland therefore secured her Ladies European Tour card for the 2016 season. This victory also made her the youngest winner of a Q School for an international tour.

She is the first and the only Indian golfer who played the Asian Youth Games in 2013, Youth Olympic Games in 2014, Asian Games in 2014 and Rio Olympics in 2016.

About Ladies European Tour

The Ladies European Tour is a professional golf tour for women.

It was founded in 1979.

It is based in England.

The tour is run by a Board of Directors and a Players' Council.

Most of the players on the tour are European, and the largest non-European contingent by far comes from Australia.

INDIA, US LAUNCHED USD 95 MILLION CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

As part of its efforts to continue the global transition to zero-and-low carbon energy sources, the United States (US) has announced two financial projects worth 95 million US dollars for India. The projects announced aims at bringing more energy-efficient appliances to rural sector of the country.

The White House in its statement said the US has committed 75 million dollars in Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) financing for renewable energy projects in India. The 75 million US dollar OPIC, sponsored by ReNew Power Projects, is for a utility-scale PV project in Telangana.

Rest 20 million dollars will be used to launch a partnership with the philanthropic sector to bring more efficient appliances to Indian villages. It is a part of 250 million facilities committed by the United States to support India’s 400 MW new solar power projects in different states of India.

The process, known as the US-India Clean Energy Finance program (USICEF), will address a key financing gap in the Indian distributed solar market by funding early-stage project preparatory work. It is anticipated that the USICEF will unlock up to 400 million US dollars in long-term debt financing from OPIC and private sector investors.

The White House fact sheet says that the Rockefeller Foundations Smart Power for Rural Development Initiative will announce a new partnership with the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP). This will help in accelerating the deployment and use of energy efficient off-grid devices in rural India. This decision on funding the Global LEAP is subject to Congressional notification. LEAP will support in developing and rolling out a programme to deploy energy-efficient devices at selected Smart Power supported mini-grid sites.

A strategy will be developed to reduce energy costs for some of the poorest people residing in India. As believed, deployment of the LEAP programme will reduce energy consumption by at least 50 percent of rural households. Programme implementation would result in

• Increasing revenue for mini-grid operators by over 300 percent per household

• It will help in generating rural employment by involving people in distribution and supply chain management of the devices.

 

 

 

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Last Updated on Saturday, 10 December 2016 10:00
 

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