Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 October 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 31 October 2017


  1. Centre gets SC to freeze hearing on Article 35A

 

The Centre convinced the Supreme Court to defer hearing on petitions challenging the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Context:

The court is hearing a writ petition filed by NGO, We the Citizens, which challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370.

 

Reason:

  • The government has appointed Dineshwar Sharma, a former IB director, as interlocutor.
  • He has started talks with stakeholders. If the court hears this case, it will affect dialogue process.

 

Article 35A

  • It is a provision incorporated in the Indian Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature to decide ‘permanent residents’ of the State.
  • Grant those permanent resident special right and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare programmes.

 

What is the issue with Article 35A?

 

  • Article 35A was incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954 by an order of President.
  • The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.
  • The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Indian Constitution to add Article 35A.
  • Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370.
  • Whereas, Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new Article.

 

Source: Hindu

 


  1. Five-judge statute Bench to decide on Aadhaar validity

 

Backgound:

A nine-judge bench unanimously ruled that right to privacy was a fundamental right and formed an intrinsic part of right to life guaranteed under Article 21.

Key Facts:

 

  • Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had raised the issue that the scheme violates privacy rights.
  • The court issued notice to the Centre on a separate plea filed by an individual challenging the linking of mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar for availing the benefits of social welfare schemes.
  • The Supreme Court decided to constitute a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear petitions from November against the validity of the Aadhaar scheme.

 

Source: Hindu

 


  1. China to block UN bid to ban Azhar

Citing a lack of consensus, China said that it is once again not designating Masood Azhar, head of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, as an international terrorist.

China raised the technical hold to allow for more time for all parties to deliberate on this matter.

 

Context:

The Chinese position came ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the 1267 committee of the U.N. Security Council, where the status of Azhar would be discussed.

 

UNSC 1267 Committee:

  • The UNSC 1267 Committee was established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999). It is also known as the AlQaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee.
  • It was established for the purpose of overseeing the implementation of sanctions measures imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for its support of Osama bin Laden.
  • However in course of time, the 1267 sanctions regime has been modified and strengthened by subsequent resolutions.
  • If an individual or terrorist organisation is included in this list, it helps in restricting their movement, financial penalties and assets freeze among others.
  • The Committee comprises all 15 members of the UNSC and makes its decision by consensus and secretly. If single member opposes it there is no consensus.
  • That’s why China opposition to India’s bid is not allowing UNSC to designate Masood Azhar as an international terrorist and freeze his assets and travel ban.
  • The committee is being criticised for being non transparent and in recent time there is demand for its reforms to address procedural shortcomings especially from India.

 

Source: Hindu

 


  1. Multigrain meal to replace upma in tribal schools

 Multi-grain meal to replace upma in tribal schools

In a major initiative, the district administration has readied a plan to introduce multi-grain meals in 64 tribal welfare residential educational institutions across the Khammam district of Telangana state.

 

Aim

  • The targeted intervention aims at raising the nutritional status of students in the tribal areas.

 

Significance:

  • It gains significance in the backdrop of prevalence of malnutrition particularly anaemia and other deficiencies among children in remote tribal pockets due to poor economic status of their families.

 

About Program:

  • The nutrition intervention envisages introduction of millet-based snacks in the menu of as many as 46 Ashram High Schools and 18 Tribal Welfare hostels spread in 23 mandals of the district.
  • The multi-grain meal containing sorghum and finger millet (ragi) as ingredients will replace the upma served as breakfast in the tribal welfare educational institutions.
  • Fibre-dense millet-based snacks fortified with micro-nutrients will be served as evening snacks as per the new intervention.
  • District administration to harness ICRISAT project.

 

ICRISAT:

  • The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is an international organization which conducts agricultural research for rural development, headquartered in Patancheru, Hyderabad.
  • Its charter was signed by the FAOand the UNDP.
  • The original goal was to use crop improvement research as the basis to improve food availability in drought-prone areas of the tropics. 
  • ICRISAT performs crop improvement research, using conventional as well as methods derived from biotechnology, on the following crops: Chickpea, Pigeonpea, Groundnut,  Pearl millet, Sorghum, Finger Millet and Small millets.

 

Source: Hindu

 


  1. Xi crowned as ‘linxiu’

 

China’s ruling Communist Party has dusted off a Mao-era honorific for President Xi Jinping, cementing his status as the most powerful ruler.

 

What is linxiu?

The term, a honorific for a leader, was once used for Mao

  • The term “lingxiu” has not been used since the time of Mao’s successor Hua Guofeng.
  • But it has begun to pop up again in state media and in government meetings.

 

Source: Hindu

 

 


  1. Concentration of CO2 in atmosphere hits record high: UN

 

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016. Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015.

 

The last time Earth experienced similar CO2 concentration rates was three to five million years ago, when the sea level was up to 20 metres (66 feet) higher than now.

 

Causes:

A combination of human activities and a strong El Nino event – as per World Meteorological Organization.

 

Need of the hour

  • Drastic action is needed to achieve targets set by the Paris climate agreement
  • Rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

                Issue with Paris climate agreement

  • The historic agreement approved by 196 countries two years ago is facing renewed pressure following U.S. President’s decision to quit the accord.
  • But nations are set to press on with the task of implementing it at climate talks in Bonn next week.

 

Source: Hindu

 


  1. The Government of India and World Bank sign $200 Million Loan Agreement for the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project. 

 

Utility:

  • The Project will support the Government of Assam to facilitate agri-business investments
  • Increase agriculture productivity and market access
  • Enable small farm holders produce crops that are resilient to recurrent floods or droughts in the state. 
  • Fulfils the State’s vision of an agriculture-based rural transformation. 

 

Use of geographic clustering of the production base:

  • The focus on geographic clustering of the production base for certain commodities will help agro-enterprises take advantage of existing and future market opportunities that they may not necessarily achieve alone.
  • The cluster approach will allow for combining efforts, making use of synergies, and pooling resources to increase the competitive advantage of these products, while at the same time share the risks involved in introducing improved products or entering previously untapped markets.
  • Successful clusters will also continuously innovate and adapt ‘best practices’ across agricultural value chains

 

IBRD:

  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is an international financial institutionthat offers loans to middle-income developing countries. 
  • The IBRD is the first of five member institutions that compose the World Bank Group.
  • It was established in 1944 with the mission of financing the reconstruction of European nations devastated by World War II.
  • The IBRD provides commercial-grade or concessional financing to sovereign statesto fund projects that seek to improve transportation and infrastructure, education, domestic policy, environmental consciousness, energy investments, healthcare, access to food and potable water, and access to improved sanitation.

 

Source: PIB

 


  1. MHA gives a boost to “Make in India” in the field of manufacturing of arms 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has liberalised the Arms Rules to boost “Make in India” manufacturing policy of the Government as also to promote employment generation in the field of manufacturing of arms and ammunition.

 

The salient features of the liberalised rules are:

  • The licence granted for manufacturing shall now be valid for the life-time of the licensee company. The requirement of renewal of the license after every 5 years has been done away with.
  • Condition that the small arms and light weapons produced by manufacturer shall be sold to the Central Government or the State Governments with the prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs has been done away with.
  • Enhancement of capacity up to 15% of the quantity approved under licence will not require any further approval by the Government. The manufacturer will be required to give only prior intimation to the licensing authority in this regard.
  • The licence fee has been reduced significantly. The licence fee will now range from Rs. 5,000/- to the maximum of Rs. 50,000/-.
  • The fee for manufacturing licence shall be payable at the time of grant of license rather than at the time of application.
  • Single manufacturing licence will be allowed for a multi-unit facility within the same State or in different States within the country. 

 

Significance:

 

  • Will encourage investment in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition and weapon systems as part of the “Make in India” programme.
  • Encourage the manufacturing activity and facilitate availability of world class weapons to meet the requirement of Armed Forces and Police Forces in sync with country’s defence indigenization programme.

 

To whom rules will apply

  • The liberalised rules will apply to licences granted by MHA for small arms & ammunition
  • Licences granted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under powers delegated to them, for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircrafts, space crafts, warships of all kinds, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms.

 

Source: PIB


  1. MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan 

 

Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan was lanched for empowering micro and small entrepreneurs across the country to directly register their cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments.

 

Utility

  • The portal will greatly facilitate the monitoring of the delayed payment in a more effective manner.
  • The information on the portal will be available in public domain, thus exerting moral pressure on the defaulting organisations.
  • The MSEs will also be empowered to access the portal and monitor their cases.

 

 

Background:

  • The Portal will give information about the pending payment of MSEs with individual CPSEs / Central Ministries, State Governments, etc.
  • The CEO of PSEs and the Secretary of the Ministries concerned will also be able to monitor the cases of delayed payment and issue necessary instructions to resolve the issues.

 

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Act, 2006 contains provisions to deal with cases of delayed payment to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs).

 

Source: PIB

 

 


  1. PM flags off “Run For Unity”

The Prime Minister later flagged off the “Run For Unity” from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. 

  • The Prime Minister recalled the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, especially in uniting the nation. 
  • The Prime Minister said India is proud of its diversity, and occasions such as “Run For Unity” offer us an opportunity to reinforce that sense of pride and oneness. 

 

Source: PIB

 


  1. India to host UN Summit on Conservation of Migratory Species in 2020

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced that India will host next Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Conference of Parties 13 (CMS COP13) in year 2020.

 

CMS COP is also known as a Global Wildlife Conference.

 

Key Facts

  • An announcement in this regard was made on the last day of the week-long 12th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals or CMS COP12, the only international treaty devoted exclusively to migratory animal species held in Philippines.

 

Outcomes of last summit (COP12)

  • Governments agreed to cooperate on reducing the negative impacts of marine debris, noise pollution, renewable energy and climate change on migratory species.
  • A vulture multi-species action plan to better protect 15 species of Old World Vulture in more than 120 countries, comprising four that are critically endangered in 

 

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

  • CMS is an international treaty concluded under aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), concerned with conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
  • It is commonly abbreviated as Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention.
  • CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.

 

Source: Hindu

 


  1. China plans to build gigantic DNA database platform

 

China plans to build a $1 billion super-sized DNA sequencing platform in the Jiangsu Province.

 

Aim:

Store genetic information of millions of its ethnic Chinese population

 

Use:

  • Researchers will use big data created in the database to study genetic mutations related to major diseases,
  • look for the impact of interaction between genes and environmental concerns on human heath,
  • Provide statistical support for diagnosis and treatment of major diseases

 

Source: Hindu

 


Prelims:

 

  1. Polavaram Project

Polavaram Project is a multi-purpose irrigation project which has been accorded national project status by the union government. This dam across the Godavari River is under construction located in West Godavari District and East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh state and its reservoir spreads in parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha States also.