Comprehensive News Analysis - 04 November 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. PM makes a pitch for concurrent elections

2. 11,000 NGOs will not get foreign funds

3. Food Security Act implemented

4. India, Chinese forces face off in Demchok over water project

5. India opens IITs to Nepal students

6. Sampriti-7

7. High Court says Parliament’s nod needed for Brexit

C. GS3 Related:

1. IISc produces a salt to combat bacterial infections

2. NASA completes construction of largest space telescope

3. Council fixes 4-level GST rate structure

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. Getting real on OROP

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

1. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn

2. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!

B. GS2 Related
  1. PM makes a pitch for concurrent elections

Category: Indian Polity

Topic: Elections

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi asked the media to encourage debate on issues that have a constructive effect on society, including organising simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. The Prime Minister gave the example of holding simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and Assembly, adding that leaders of almost all political parties had privately admitted that something must be done on the issue.
  • PM further said issues such as the frequent application of the model code of conduct, poll funding etc. also need to be re-looked seriously.

 

  1. 11,000 NGOs will not get foreign funds

Category: Regulation of Foreign Contribution

Topic: Foreign Contribution Regulation Act

Key Points:

  • 2 years after the Union government cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act – FCRA licences of 10,000 NGOs, the licences of another 11,000 NGOs expired as they did not apply for renewal in time.
  • Union ministry of Home affairs said expiry technically meant cancellation and the NGOs could no longer receive foreign funds now. Among the most significant cancellations were Adani Foundation promoted by business tycoon Gautam Adani, Oxfam Trust, the Indian arm of the British human rights organisation and Salam Balak Trust, which works for children’s rights.
  • The fate of another 1,700 NGOs is in a limbo as the Home Ministry has put them under closed category for submitting incomplete documents.
  • This brings down the number of NGOs that can receive foreign donations from 33,000 to 25,000. Since the FCRA licence is given for 5 years, this year all the NGOs had to apply for a renewal and the last date was June 30. The last time such an exercise was done was in 2011 after the FCRA Act was amended in 2010.

 

  1. Food Security Act implemented

Category: National programs and policies

Topic: NFSA

Key Points:

  • Union Food ministry said the National Food Security Act – NFSA, which envisages supply of subsidised foodgrains, has been implemented across the country. As a result of the implementaion, 81.34 crore persons will get wheat at Rs. 2 per kg and rice at Rs. 3 per kg.
  • At the current coverage, the monthly allocation of foodgrains to States and UTs under the Act is about 45.5 lakh tonnes, with a subsidy implication of about Rs. 11,726 crore per month or about Rs.1,40,700 crore per year.
  • The Centre would now focus on further reforms in the public distribution system.

 

  1. India, Chinese forces face off in Demchok over water project

Category: Bilateral

Topic: India – China

Key Points:

    • The Indo Tibetan Border Police and the Chinese Army have been engaged in a faceoff with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army along the Line of Actual Control in Leh’s Demchok area. The Chinese side is objecting to an irrigation project under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to link a village with a hot spring.

 

  1. India opens IITs to Nepal students

Category: Bilateral

Topic: India – Nepal

Key Points:

  • India announced that from 2017, Nepalese students would be able to compete for seats in IITs in a move to reach out to the younger generation of Nepal. Announcing the new opportunity for the students of Nepal, President of India Pranab Mukherjee said academic and student exchange programmes had been part of the long tradition in bilateral ties and India would continue to help Nepal with developing its human resources.
  • President Mukherjee said the youths of South Asia should not remain hostage to baggage of history, and urged that they should have more opportunities in education, health, and technology and employment generation. He also met with a broad spectrum of political and civil society figures in the evening and reminded Nepal that India remained committed to its Neighbourhood first foreign policy.

 

  1. Sampriti-7

Category: Bilateral

Topic: India – Bangladesh

Key Points:

  • Bangladesh and India will hold a 14-day joint military exercise, code-named Sampriti-7 at Shaheed Salauddin Cantonment in Bangladesh’s Ghatail, Tangail to practise counter-terrorism and disaster-management operations. The bilateral defence cooperation endeavour, hosted alternately by both countries, is into its 7th edition.
  • The joint exercise will simulate a scenario where both nations are working together in a counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment under the U.N. Charter. The first exercise in this series was held at Jorhat in Assam in 2010.

 

  1. High Court says Parliament’s nod needed for Brexit

Category: International

Topic: BREXIT

Key Points:

  • The High Court ruled that Brexit could not be triggered without a parliamentary vote which is considered as a major victory for ‘Remain’ campaigners and those alarmed by the British government’s efforts to single-handedly control the country’s exit from the European Union (EU).
  • The court rejected government arguments that clauses in a piece of legislation from 1972 gave it the power to act without parliamentary approval when it came to triggering Article 50, which gives EU member states a 2-year period to withdraw.
  • The court said government’s argument was contrary to the fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of Parliament and the government’s lack of entitlement to use its prerogative powers to change domestic law. The developments are the latest dramatic twist in the political drama that has enveloped the U.K. since the surprise vote in favour of leaving the EU in June, 2016.
  • The government has announced it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, with a hearing likely to take place in early December at the earliest.
  • The Conservatives are likely to rally around the Prime Minister. On the Labour side, though there are many Labour MPs who campaigned against leaving, the clear Brexit vote in many of their constituencies leaves them unlikely to vote against what is seen as the clear will of the people.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. IISc produces a salt to combat bacterial infections

Category: S&T

Topic: Developments

Key Points:

  • A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science – IISc Bangalore has successfully produced a highly efficacious binary salt of two commonly used drugs – norfloxacin (antibacterial) and sulfathiazole (antimicrobial) using crystal engineering.
  • It has enhanced pharmaceutical effects compared to the physical mixture of the two drugs. The underlying reason for the salt’s improved efficacy is the better solubility and diffusion of the drugs, particularly norfloxacin and, therefore, enhanced bioavailability and pharmaceutical activity.
  • Norfloxacin in a pure form or in a physical mixture has low solubility and permeability, so the amount of the drug that goes through the membrane and gets into tissues is less. To compensate for this, higher dosages of norfloxacin drug are generally used.
  • But in the case of the binary salt both diffuse together. It is like sulfathiazole pulls norfloxacin across the membrane so both the drugs are available at the same time at the site of action to combat the microbes together. The potency of the salt and the physical mixture of the drugs was tested on E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and fungi. Studies showed that the salt was able to achieve the same result of inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth at about half the concentration of the physical mixture

 

  1. NASA completes construction of largest space telescope

Category: S&T

Topic: NASA – Largest space telescope

Key Points:

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration – NASA has successfully completed building the largest space telescope, James Webb Space Telescope one that is 100 times powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope and may find the first galaxies that were formed in the early universe.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope will be the successor of NASA’s 26-year-old Hubble. The Webb telescope’s infrared cameras are so sensitive that it needs to be shielded from the rays of the Sun. A 5-layer sunshield of the size of a tennis court will prevent the heat from interfering with the telescope’s infrared sensors.
  • The layers work together to reduce the temperatures between the hot and cold sides of the observatory by about 298 degrees Celsius. Each successive layer of the sunshield, made of kapton, is cooler than the one below. The space agency has also made the first important optical measurement of James Webb Space Telescope fully assembled primary mirror, called a Center of Curvature test.

 

  1. Council fixes 4-level GST rate structure

Category: Economy

Topic: GST

Key Points:

    • The Goods and Services Tax – GST will be levied at multiple rates ranging from 0 per cent to 28 per cent. Ultra luxuries, demerit and sin goods, will attract a cess for a period of five years on top of the 28 per cent GST. Overcoming opposition from some States, the GST Council finalised a multiple-slab rate structure, including the cess, for the new indirect tax. The quantum of cess on each of these will depend on the current incidence of tax.

Major decisions taken by the Council:

  • On nearly half of the consumer inflation basket, including food grains, the GST will be at 0 per cent.
  • The lowest slab of 5 per cent will be for items of common consumption.
  • There would be two standard rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent, which would fall on the bulk of the goods and services. This includes fast-moving consumer goods.
  • Most services are expected to become costlier as the ones being taxed currently at the rate of 15 per cent are likely to be put in the 18-per cent slab.
  • The services being taxed at lower rates, owing to the provision of abatement, such as train tickets, will fall in the lower slabs.
  • The highest slab of 28 per cent will include white goods and all those items on which the current rate of incidence varies from 30-31 per cent.
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here today folks!

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Getting real on OROP

Key Points:

  • The suicide of Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal, allegedly over delay in receiving arrears under the One Rank, One Pension scheme, has set off a political storm. In a related move, the ex-servicemen groups demanding unconditional OROP have resumed their protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar; it had been called off six months ago after assurances from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Amidst all this, the real issues in the implementation of OROP have been lost sight of.
  • The veterans are demanding OROP in its rightful form, which going by the accepted definition implies uniform pension to armed forces personnel retiring with the same rank and length of service regardless of the date of retirement. Among the major concerns highlighted by the veterans are: annual equalisation as against the approved five years; exclusion of those who opt for premature retirement (PMR) from the ambit of OROP; implementation from April 2014; and adoption of the highest pay scale of 2013 for revising pension. The government’s predicament is obvious. Except for PMR, all these are financial issues and have budgetary implications. Annual pension revision for over 20 lakh people would also be an administrative challenge.
  • The big issue is PMR, as it has consequences for the armed forces that go beyond extra pension money. The Centre’s OROP notification said personnel who opt to get discharged henceforth on their own request will not be entitled to its benefits. This made a distinction between those who opted for PMR in the past and those who may do so in future.
  • There is still no clarity on the criteria of PMR, which has created confusion in the rank and file, particularly among those who are looking to leave the service after completing the pensionable service or have been superseded and have no further chances of promotion. It is debatable whether officers opting to leave the service on their own for better prospects and drawing regular pension should be given the additional benefit of OROP. However, there needs to be clarity to the PMR criteria, else it could push back efforts to build a younger Army and improve promotion opportunities. As for the implementation status, about Rs.5,500 crore had been disbursed; of the roughly 20.6 lakh pensioners, only one lakh are still to get the money. That the protests in Delhi have dwindled reflects the larger mood among the veterans. It is a welcome step that OROP has been granted after 40 years of demands, but the Centre must quickly iron out the remaining wrinkles.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

 

 

 

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂

	Question 1:Which of the following Commission / Committee is related to Electoral reforms?
	
a) Sarkaria Commission b) Madan Mohan Punchi commission c) Dinesh Goswami committee d) None of these

	Question 2:NASA has successfully completed building the largest space telescope. The name of the telescope is -
a) James Webb Space Telescope b) Hubble Space Telescope c) Chandra Space Telescope d) Discovery
Question 3:Joint military exercise, code-named Sampriti-7 appears in news in the context of

a) India and Pakistan b) India and Bangladesh c) India and Nepal d) India and U.S.

	Question 4:Shanta Kumar Committee is related to 
(a) Police reforms (b) Public distribution system reforms (c) Pollution control (d) Sustainable development
Question 5:Recently, India opened up entrance of IIT’s to the students of 
a) Nepal b) Maldives c) Pakistan d) Bangladesh

Check Your Answers

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