Comprehensive News Analysis - 23 November 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. ‘IS used chemical arms 52 times in Syria, Iraq’

C. GS3 Related:

1. Rs. 35,000 cr. to ease rural cash crunch

2. Old coaches turn death traps

3. India joins CERN as an associate member

4. Centre plans crop insurance scheme for small tea growers

5. To speed passage, Government plans GST Bills as money Bills

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

1. No complacency on Zika

2. Generics vs big pharma, reloaded

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. ‘IS used chemical arms 52 times in Syria, Iraq’

Category: International Relations

Topic: Terrorism

Key Points:

  • A new report by the IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based intelligence collection and analysis service has claimed that chemical weapons like chlorine and Sulphur have been used at least 52 times by the IS in Syria and Iraq since 2014.
  • According to the analysis, Mosul, the stronghold of IS in northern Iraq has witnessed more than 33% of these attacks.
  • The U.S. and Iraqi military officials have expressed growing alarm over the prospect of additional chemical attacks as the allies press to regain both Mosul and Raqqa, the IS capital in Syria.


C. GS3 Related
  1. Rs. 35,000 cr. to ease rural cash crunch

Category: Economy

Topic: Demonetisation

Key Points:

  • Commercial Banks have been asked by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to focus their attention on rural India’s cash crunch over the next 40 days, with a war chest of Rs. 35,000 crore for providing credit to farmers by December.
  • Farmers have been allowed to use Rs. 500 notes for buying seeds for the rabi crops.
  • To see to it that the farmers don’t face any cash shortage, banks have been asked to provide Rs 5,000 crore to the currency chests of district central co-operative banks (DCCBs)
  • Asset classification norms for loans of less than Rs 1 have also been eased taking into account the problems being faced by small businesses, home loan borrowers and farmers.

 

2. Old coaches turn death traps

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: Railway Safety

Key Points:

  • Anti-telescoping features are absent in about 85% railway coaches in India. These coaches have the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) rakes. In terms of numbers, these constitute 53,000 of the 63,000 operational coaches in the country.
  • Back in 2012, Anil Kakodkar Panel on railway safety had suggested switching to Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches which are equipped with anti-telescoping features and advanced coupling systems, pointing to the fact that ICF coaches are not safe at high speeds of the range 100-120 kmph.
  • Presently, only around 8,000 Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches are operational.
  • As per a railway official, Railways will stop the production of ICF coaches from 2018.
  • He added that Railways has also decided that the frequency of ultrasonic fault detection test would be increased from monthly to bi-weekly exercise.


3. India joins CERN as an associate member

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: CERN

Key Points:

  • India has been accepted as an associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). With this now, Indians would be allowed to apply for positions there, and at the same time, Indian companies can bid for engineering contracts at the organization.
  • Sekhar Basu, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and CERN Director General Fabiola Gianotti signed the agreement in Mumbai on 21st
  • The associate membership would cost India CHF (Swiss Franc) 11.5 million (approximately Rs. 78 crore) annually though it still wouldn’t have voting rights on decisions of the Council.
  • In 2004, India had become ‘Observer’ at CERN.
  • Presently CERN has 22 members and 4 associate members.

 

4. Centre plans crop insurance scheme for small tea growers

Category: Economy

Topic: Agriculture

Key Points:

  • A crop insurance scheme has been planned by the Centre for small tea growers. This scheme The scheme aims to protect growers from anticipated losses in revenue caused by drop in international/domestic prices, yield loss due to adverse weather or pest attacks or any other reason beyond human control.
  • Initially, a pilot will be run in three regions in Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu for one crop-cycle spread over two years commencing 2016-17.

 

5. To speed passage, Government plans GST Bills as money Bills

Category: Economy

Topic: GST

Key Points:

  • The Lok Sabha has listed the Central GST Bill; the Integrated GST; and GST (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) for introduction, consideration and passing in the winter session of Parliament.

Purpose:

  • Central GST Bill – tax on intra-state supply of goods or services
  • Integrated GST – tax on inter-state supply of goods or services
  • GST (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) – facilitate payment of compensation to states for loss of revenue arising on account of the implementation of GST for a period of five years.

Why as Money Bill?

  • There are few issues which could hold up the bill in Rajya Sabha like the difference over the calculation of the revenue base of the Centre and states and compensation requirements, the list of exemptions, capping of the rate in the Central GST Bill and threshold limits for the levy of GST. Introducing them as Money Bill will required the bills to be passed only in the Lok Sabha where the government has a clear majority.


E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. No complacency on Zika

Category: Science and Tech

Topic: Health

Key Points:

  • Zika virus will not be considered a public health emergency of international concern, the WHO has declared. Earlier the virus declared so on February 1, 2016 owing to the high number of neurological disorders reported in Brazil and a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014.
  • The reasons given by the WHO were the unknown link between the virus and microcephaly and neurological complications, lack of vaccines and diagnostic tools, the possibility of its global spread, and the lack of immunity to the virus in newly affected countries.
  • To address the long-term challenges posed by babies born with microcephaly the WHO Emergency Committee has called for sustained research and dedicated resources to address the issues.

 

2. Generics vs big pharma, reloaded

Category: Health

Topic: Pharmaceutical Issues

Key Points:

  • The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) has objected to the changes in the data exclusivity norms. It pointed to the recent proposal to change the four-year time limit for State-level drug regulatory approvals to 10 years, arguing that this effectively results in a long and damaging data exclusivity.
  • Data exclusivity is a kind of intellectual property protection wherein clinical trial and other data submitted by an originator drug company cannot be used or relied upon by a drug regulatory authority to approve a generic version of that drug for a certain period of time.
  • It is believed that without such protection, the originator company does not have enough incentive to conduct expensive trials and take a potential drug to the market. Blocking generic entry may help drug companies invest in clinical trials.
  • As per the current provisions, a new drug continues to remain “new” even after it has been approved once by the Central regulator (Drugs Controller General of India, or DGCI) upon submission of local clinical trial data establishing safety and efficacy in India.
  • But, after four years in the market, the drug manufacturer can go directly to a State regulatory authority and procure drug approval. This period of 4 years may be increased to 10 years.
  • This, IPA argues constitutes an enhancement of data exclusivity norms in favour of large pharma companies, particularly MNCs.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Zika Virus
  • ICF and LHB
  • GST Bill
  • Money Bill
  • Demonetisation
  • IS
  • CERN


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following are correctly matched:
    i) Central GST Bill – tax on intra-state supply of goods or services
    ii) Integrated GST – tax on inter-state supply of goods or services
    iii) GST (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) – facilitate payment of compensation to states for loss of revenue arising on account of the implementation of GST.

a) I only

b) iii only

c) ii and iii only

d) all of the above


Question 2: Which of the following are correctly matched:
    i) MICR – platform for transferring and receiving funds using an app with a virtual reality
    ii) IMPS – interbank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones
    iii) UPI – allows a machine to swiftly read and process cheques

a) i only

b) ii only

c) i and iii only

d) none of the above


Question 3: Which of the following statements are true?
    i) CERN is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory
    ii) Pakistan is an associate member of CERN

a) i only

b) ii only

c) both i) and ii)

d) none of the above


Question 4: Which of the following awards did M. Balamuralikrishna, the great Indian Carnatic vocalist and musician receive?
    i) National Film Awards
    ii) Padma Vibhushan
    iii) Padma Shree

a) I and ii

b) ii and iii

c) ii only

d) I, ii and iii


Question 5: Recently, a crop insurance scheme has been planned by the Centre for small tea growers to protect growers from anticipated losses in revenue caused by drop in international/domestic prices, yield loss due to adverse weather or pest attacks or any other reason beyond human control. This would be run as a pilot in which of the following states?
    i) Assam
    ii) Tamil Nadu
    iii) Kerala
    iv) West Bengal

a) all of the above

b) I and ii only

c) I, ii and iii

d) I, ii and iv


Check Your Answers

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