Comprehensive News Analysis – 08 October 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. SC blocks BCCI funds to State cricket units

2. SC stays Bihar High Court order quashing prohibition

3. Indo-Pak border to be sealed by 2018

4. Colombian President wins Nobel Peace Prize-2016

C. GS3 Related:

1. Apex court stays commercial release of GM mustard

2. Fin minister says 80 per cent Jan Dhan accounts have balance now

3. DIPP says Pension funds may fuel start-ups

4. Forex reserves touch record high

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

The Hindu

1. The lure of the exotic and esoteric

2. A Nobel push for peace in Colombia

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!

B. GS2 Related
  1. SC blocks BCCI funds to State cricket units

Category: Indian polity

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court went for the financial jugular of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s 25 State cricket associations, barring them from using BCCI funds till they accept the Justice Lodha Committee’s reforms in letter and spirit.

The court said several statements and actions of the BCCI are grossly out of order and may even constitute contempt. In case the State associations continue to resist the Lodha reforms, their shares would be invested in fixed deposit accounts until they change their minds.

 

2. SC stays Bihar High Court order quashing prohibition

Category: Indian Polity

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court gave a green signal to the Bihar government by staying a Patna High Court order quashing the State’s prohibition law, while observing that there are no rights to be claimed regards anything to do with liquor. The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Bihar government against the High Court order dated September 30 which quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the State. In its appeal, the Bihar government has urged the apex court to decide whether State could impose absolute prohibition on distribution and consumption of liquor and whether an individual could claim right to consume liquor as his or her fundamental right under the Constitution.

The Apex court bench observed “Liquor and fundamental rights do not go together. There is no privilege or fundamental rights to be claimed in liquor business”

  • Note – Despite the Bihar high court order, on Gandhi Jayanti (Oct 2nd) the State government had come out with a new law banning liquor, with harsher provisions like arrest of all adults in the event of recovery of the contraband in their house.

In its notification, the government notified the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 to ensure that the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol including Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) as well as spiced and domestic liquor, continued in the State.

 

  1. Indo-Pak border to be sealed by 2018

Category: Bilateral

Topic: Indo – Pak

Key Points:

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said a time-bound action plan would be formulated in order to completely seal the 3,323-km-long border between India and Pakistan by the end of December, 2018. It was decided in the wake of rising tensions between India and Pakistan following the surgical strikes across the Line of Control.

The minister further said the procedure for sealing the international border would be developed in a planned manner, with a mechanism in place for its periodic monitoring at multiple levels in the defence establishment as well as the governments of the 4 Border States.

 

  1. Colombian President wins Nobel Peace Prize-2016

Category: International awards

Topic: Nobel prizes

Key Points:

  • The Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 has been awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end his country’s 50-year civil war.

He negotiated a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerrilla group but the peace deal was rejected by a narrow majority of Colombians when it was put to referendum. The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Apex court stays commercial release of GM mustard

Category: Bio-technology

Topic: GM crops

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court stayed the commercial release of Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard crop for 10 days and asked the Centre to take public opinion on such seeds before releasing them for cultivation, even as the government approval is awaited.

Note – Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops which is sown between mid-October and late November.

  • Counsel appearing for petitioner Aruna Rodrigues who had filed the plea seeking a stay on the commercial release of GM mustard crop and prohibition of its open field trials, alleged that the Centre was sowing the seeds on various fields and said the bio-safety dossier had to be put on website but this had not been done yet. The advocate alleged that without doing relevant tests, they were carrying out field trials of the crop and sought a 10-year moratorium on them.

He further said a Technical Expert Committee (TEC) report had said that the entire regulatory system was in shambles and a 10-year moratorium should be imposed. The plea had also urged the court to prohibit open field trials and commercial release of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) crops including HT Mustard DMH 11 and its parent lines/variants as recommended by the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) report.

 

  1. Fin minister says 80 per cent Jan Dhan accounts have balance now

Category: Economy

Topic: Financial inclusion

Key Points:

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said 80% percent of the 24 crore new bank accounts created under the centre’s Jan Dhan Yojana now have balance in them. He was participating in a panel discussion at the World Bank on financial inclusion and de-risking or measures to prevent the illicit use of the banking system. He further mentioned “All programmes of the government that give assistance to weaker sections of the society – rural employment guarantee, subsidy on food and fertiliser etc are being transferred through these accounts now. Getting them connected to an insurance scheme in the next goal”.
  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the progress made by India in financial inclusion is a model that is inspiring for the rest of the world. Other speakers also lauded India’s progress in financial inclusion.

 

  1. DIPP says Pension funds may fuel start-ups

Category: Economy

Topic: Pension funds

Key Points:

  • Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said in order to boost start-ups the government will consider a slew of policies that could enable pension funds as well as insurance firms such as LIC to invest in start-ups. Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had recently taken steps to increase their exposure in stock markets. So definitely their money needs to be leveraged for start-ups.
  • DIPP, the nodal Central government department for start-ups and its related policy ‘Start-up India’ said it has personally written to over 100 corporates to utilise their Corporate Social Responsibility funds for start-ups and incubators. It was further said the government had already set up a 10,000 crore Fund Of Funds, which would in four years help mobilise private investments worth around Rs.50,000 crore for investments into start-ups.

 

  1. Forex reserves touch record high

Category: Economy

Topic: FOREX reserves

Key Points:

  • As per the Reserve Bank data, India’s foreign exchange reserves scaled a new high of $371.99 billion, up $1.223 billion for the week to September 30. The increase was on account of a $1.468-billion surge in the foreign currency assets.

Previously, they had touched a high of $371.279 billion in the week to September 9. Foreign currency assets which are a major component of the overall reserves surged by $1.468 billion to $346.71 billion, the Reserve Bank said.

 

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


  1. The lure of the exotic and esoteric
  • If wonderful discoveries happening in biology had acted as a trigger for Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan to switch from physics to chemistry, the nearly matured and well-established field of chemistry failed to enthuse Yoshinori Ohsumi, and he shifted to biology.

Autophagy a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components was known long before he ventured into the field, but it was his paradigm-shifting research that revealed the importance of this fundamental process that comes into play every other minute. His seminal work helped reveal that vacuoles in yeast and lysosomes in human cells are not just garbage bins but recyclers and fuel producers. Right from the stage of embryo development to countering the negative effects of ageing, autophagy plays an important role.

  • As in the case of many Laureates, Dr. Ohsumi’s initial years were more than frustrating, but he prevailed. His approach to science is an antithesis to what is generally seen in today’s young researchers, and that precisely is what helped him break new ground and bag the Nobel Prize this year only the third Laureate since 2010 to not share the Prize for Physiology or Medicine with others.

But lysosomes and other cellular bodies would be severely impacted if molecular machines in our body failed to work synchronously to carry materials around in a cell and for several other functions. Though not as elegant as the molecular machines at work inside us, the work done by Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa, the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has set the ball rolling in the endeavour to realise Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s dream more than 50 years ago of building very small machines. Though very primitive at this point in time, science will see one of the biggest revolutions when the cogs and cranks of their work are finally put together to build machines on a nanoscale; nanomachines will find applications in diverse fields, from medicine to electronics. Much like the nanomachines of tomorrow, David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz’s theoretical explanations for exotic states of materials by using topological concepts will give birth to a completely different class of products. This year’s Nobel-winning physicists, they predicted the exotic behaviour that other scientists later found at the surface of materials and inside very thin layers, such as superconductivity and magnetism in extremely thin materials. Physicists are now looking beyond the ordinary to find new and exotic phases of matter that change in a stepwise fashion.

 

  1. A Nobel push for peace in Colombia
  • In a long year of war and strife, it is a silver lining that the Nobel Committee in Oslo was spoilt for choice in deciding upon the recipient of the 2016 Peace Prize. A landmark nuclear deal brought a peaceful closure to Iran’s purported nuclear weapon ambitions and paved the way for better relations between Tehran and the West, making the key negotiators leading contenders for the Prize.

The yeoman efforts of the White Helmets of Syria, a group of local volunteers in Aleppo and other parts of war-ravaged Syria who help rescue people injured or stranded in bomb attacks in war zones, merited recognition. But the ending of one of the longest-running civil wars was the achievement that got the highest recognition by the Committee.

  • The Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 has been awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos after his government painstakingly concluded negotiations by signing an accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), winding down hostilities in a 52-year-old civil war. The accord, signed on September 26, 2016, provided for the disbanding of FARC militants and for the rebels to join the political process as a routine political party, besides conceding demands by FARC to address inequities in Colombia’s rural areas through development programmes and land distribution. FARC also agreed to dismantle drug production facilities in areas in its control which had helped finance the war against the Colombian government. This was a landmark accord that provided an opportunity not just for peace but also for better prospects in the war against drug production and trade in Colombia.

Merely a week after the accord, the government received a setback as its attempt to get the accord ratified through a referendum failed. About 50.23 per cent of the voters who turned out (the turnout was less than 40 per cent) voted against the peace agreement. Both the government and FARC have ruled out a return to war despite this setback, and even the advocates of the “no” vote, including former President Álvaro Uribe, have sought fresh negotiations for what they deem to be a better accord. The Nobel committee recognises that despite the setback there is the need for a broad-based dialogue to further the peace process. In doing so, it has provided Mr. Santos the persuasive pulpit he had lost following the referendum. The award should enable his government to seek a renewed accord that does not militate against the previous one and seals a durable peace. The Peace Prize is a testimonial to the patience required to bring about closure to complex, long-running conflicts. In this case at least, it is well-deserved.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Lodha committee – BCCI reforms
  • Alcohol prohibition in India – Art 47 (DPSP)
  • GM crops
  • Civil war in Colombia
  • Financial inclusion
  • Start up India
  • FOREX reserves


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

World Bank Group (WGP)

Foreign exchange reserves of India

H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which one of the following groups of items is included in India’s foreign – exchange reserves?

a) Foreign currency assets, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and loans from foreign countries

b) Foreign currency assets, gold holdings of the RBI and SDRs

c) Foreign currency assets, loans from the World Bank and SDRs

d) Foreign currency assets, gold holdings of the RBI and loans from the World Bank


Question 2: Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has been launched for

a) Providing housing loan to poor people at cheaper interest rates

b) Promoting women’s Self Help Groups in backward areas

c) Promoting financial inclusion in the country

d) Providing financial help to marginalised communities


Question 3: The 2016 Nobel Peace prize was awarded to

a) National Dialogue Quartet – Tunisian mediators

b) Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons

c) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

d) UN peacekeeping force


Question 4: Which organization issues the Global Economic Prospects report periodically?

a) The Asian Development Bank

b) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

c) The US Federal Reserve Bank

d) The World Bank


Question 5: Consider the following statements Bio-fortification:
  1. It is the idea of breeding crops to increase their nutritional value.
  2. It is seen as an upcoming strategy for dealing with deficiencies of micronutrients in the developing world.

Which are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Check Your Answers

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