Comprehensive News Analysis - 13 April 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:


1. Poll panel throws open challenge to hack EVMs


1. India, U.K. framework for technology transfers

2. Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology

3. Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill: In a safer lane

C. GS3 Related:


1. Come May, petrol, diesel prices to change daily in 5 cities

2. Hold fiscal deficit at 3% of GDP till 19-20: NK Singh panel

3. Panel to suggest norms for Bitcoins, virtual currencies


1. Portable Kit to Check Water Contamination

D. GS4 Related:
E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn

1. Technology transfer

2. Fiscal Deficit

3. Fiscal Consolidation

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives


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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

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B. GS2 Related
Category: POLITY
1. Poll panel throws open challenge to hack EVMs

What’s in news?

  • The electoral body has thrown an open challenge to all those alleging that the EVMs used by the Election Commission were tampered with in the recent Assembly elections or that they could be hacked, asking them to prove the allegations.
  • Computer experts and political leaders would be invited to the demonstration site and they could use their skills to show whether the machines could be tampered with.

Background information

  • The move comes days after the Opposition parties met the Election Commission (EC) and requested to replace EVMs with paper ballots, as people had “lost trust” in the efficacy of the machines
  • After the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections, the Opposition parties have on several occasions alleged that the EVMs were tampered.


1. India, U.K. framework for technology transfers

What’s in news?

  • India –U.K discussing ways to devise a government-to-government framework to facilitate transfer of advance technology.
  • Framework to facilitate transfer of advance technology will be one of the specific areas of discussion under the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) agreed between the two countries in 2015 and will be taken up by the Defence Consultative Group (DCG).

2. Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology

The objective of the MoU is to facilitate and support joint scientific and research activities between scientific organizations, subordinated to the Agency and scientific organizations and scientists of the Republic of Russian Federation, with India through DST.

Under this MoU, the Parties will cooperate in the following forms:

i) Exchange of information about conducted conferences, forums, exhibitions, seminars that are of mutual interest;

ii) Support and provision of conditions for the formation of scientific projects aimed at the conduct of joint research, themes of which are determined jointly by the Parties;

iii) Conduct of joint scientific events (seminars, conferences, round tables) aimed at establishing of direct connections between scientists of the two countries in the fields determined by the Parties;

iv) Support of establishment of direct connections between scientific organizations, scientists and specialists of the Parties;

v) Provision of media coverage of the joint scientific activity aimed at the popularization of science;

vi) Development of inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional projects with the involvement of industry.

2. Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill: In a safer lane

What’s in news?

  • Recently lok Sabha passed The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill passed by the Lok Sabha

Thrust areas

  • Creating a framework for taxicab aggregators
  • Financing insurance to treat the injured and to compensate families of the dead in hit-and-run cases
  • Prescribing standards for electronically monitoring highways and urban roads for enforcement an
  • Modernizing driver licensing.
  • Protection from harassment for good samaritans who help accident victims

Present Scenario: Criticism

  • Transport bureaucracies
    • Unresponsive to the needs of a growing economy that is witnessing a steady rise in motorisation.
    • The bottleneck created by their lack of capacity has stifled regulatory reform in the transport sector and only encouraged corruption.
  • Imposing stricter penalties tends to reduce the level of enforcement of road rules.

Way forward

  • Periodic and effective enforcement should be uniformly applied.
  • Accountable and professional police force
  • State governments must prepare for an early roll-out of administrative reforms prescribed in the amended law, such as issuing learner’s licences online, recording address changes through an online application, and electronic service delivery with set deadlines.
  • Eliminate corruption at war footing level-all applications should be accepted by transport departments online.

C. GS3 Related

1. Come May, petrol, diesel prices to change daily in 5 cities

What’s in news?

  • May 1 onwards, petrol and diesel prices will change every day in sync with international rates( practice in most advanced markets ).
  • State-owned fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL), — which own over 95% ofUntitled the nearly 58,000 fuel outlets in the country, are likely to launch a pilot scheme for daily price revision in five select cities and gradually extend it all over the country.
  • Pump rates
    will reflect daily movement in international oil prices and rupee-U.S. dollar fluctuations.

Present practice

  • State fuel retailers currently revise rates on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on average international price in the preceding fortnight and the currency exchange rate. 

Key facts

  • Petrol price was freed from government control in June 2010
  • Diesel rates were deregulated in October 2014.
  • Oil companies have the freedom to revise rates but often they have been guided by political considerations.

2. Hold fiscal deficit at 3% of GDP till 19-20: NK Singh panel

Highlights of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Review Committee – chaired by former Revenue Secretary NK Singh

  • The Centre can take a pause on the fiscal consolidation front over the next three years by maintaining a fiscal deficit to GDP ratio of 3% till 2019-20.
  • The panel has advocated reaching a fiscal deficit to GDP ratio of 2.8% in 2020-21, 2.6% the next year and 2.5% in 2022-23.
  • Escape clauses: The government to skip the fiscal deficit target for a particular year, in situations that include national security concerns, acts of war, national calamities, a collapse of the agriculture sector and far-reaching structural reforms with unanticipated fiscal implications.
  • Deviations: Deviations from the stipulated fiscal targets should not be more than 0.5% ( but the Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel, Mr Patel, Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian,who were also the member of the panel was inclined to only permit a 0.3% deviation from the target)
  • The existing FRBM Act and rules be scrapped and a new Debt and Fiscal Responsibility Act be adopted.
  • Creation of a Fiscal Council – the government must consult before invoking escape clauses. 

Basic Information

The FRBM law enacted in 2003 had originally envisaged attaining a fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP by 2008-09, but amendments over the years had revised the year for achieving the same target to 2017-18.

3. Panel to suggest norms for Bitcoins, virtual currencies

What’s in news?

  • The government has set up an inter-disciplinary committee to recommend an action plan for dealing with virtual currencies, including Bitcoins.
  • The department of economic affairs in the Ministry of Finance has constituted an inter- disciplinary committee chaired by Special Secretary (Economic Affairs) with representatives from the departments of revenue and financial services and the ministries of home Affairs as well as electronics and Information Technology.
  • The committee will also include experts from the RBI, NITI Aayog and State Bank of India.

Committee terms of reference

  • Take stock of the present status of Virtual Currencies both in India and the world over.
  • Examine the existing regulatory and legal structures governing them
  • Suggest measures for dealing with such currencies.
  • Examine how to cope with money laundering opportunities as well as consumer protection concerns that could arise from the use of virtual currencies.

RBI’s stand usage of virtual currencies

  • Cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies (VCs), including Bitcoins, about the potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to.
  • In its latest advisory, the Reserve Bank of India had said it has not given any licence or authorisation to any entity or company to operate such schemes or deal with Bitcoin or any virtual currency.


1. Portable Kit to Check Water Contamination

What’s in news?

  • National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (NCCCM), Chemistry Group, BARC, located at Hyderabad has developed a portable visual detection kit for detection of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] between 5 to 500 ng/ml ( ppb) range in water within 5 minutes.
  • Chromium exists in the environment primarily in two valence states, trivalent chromium (Cr III) and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI).
  • Cr (III) is biologically important element and needed for glucose and lipid metabolism.
  • Cr (VI), however, is considered toxic and IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer, WHO) has classified it as a group 1 agent, defined as carcinogenic to humans.
  • According to Indian standard IS10500, maximum permissible limit for Cr(VI) in drinking water is 50 ng/mL and as per United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) it is 10 ng/mL and the kit meets the requirements of both the standards.

D. GS4 Related

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PIB Articles    Editorials Roundup


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

1. Technology transfer
Technology transfer, also called transfer of technology (TOT), is the process of transferring (disseminating) technology from the places and in-groups of its origination to wider distribution among more people and places.

2. Fiscal Deficit
A fiscal deficit occurs when a government’s total expenditures exceed the revenue that it generates, excluding money from borrowings.

3. Fiscal Consolidation
Fiscal Consolidation refers to the policies undertaken by Governments (national and sub-national levels) to reduce their deficits and accumulation of debt stock.


G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam:)

Question 1: Identify the correct statement with reference to Fiscal Deficit.
  1. Fiscal Deficit= Total expenditure – Total receipts
  2. Fiscal Deficit= Total receipts – Expenditure on revenue account.
  3. Fiscal Deficit= Total Expenditure – (Revenue receipts + Non-debt creating capital Receipts)
  4. Fiscal Deficit= Total Expenditure – (Revenue receipts + Debt creating capital Receipts)
Question 2: Identify the correct statement.
  1. Petrol pricing in India is domestic market dependent.
  2. Petrol price in India is set by government.
  3. Petrol pricing in India is International market dependent
  4. None of the above

Question 3: Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act,2003 mandated 
which among the following policy statement to be laid before Parliament along 
with the budget.
  1. Medium term Fiscal Policy
  2. The Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement
  3. The Macro Economic Frame work indicator
  4. All of them above
Question 4: Section 126 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, prohibits 
displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar 
apparatus, for how long a duration before the hour fixed for conclusion of 
poll in a constituency?
  1. From the time the Model Code of Conduct comes into force
  2. Ten days
  3. One week
  4. 48 hours
Question 4: Recently Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment bill, 
the power to make such laws by Parliament, is under which list of constitution 
of India.
  1. Union List
  2. State List
  3. Concurrent List
  4. None of the Above


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