9 PM Current Affairs Brief – April 10, 2019

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Service Voters Play Important Role in Close Contests in Election

  1. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has said that Service Voters are going to play a crucial and decisive role in cases of close contests in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
  2. Service voters are those who have service qualification.They include (a)member of Armed Forces of the Union of India (b)members of Armed Police forces of the States serving outside that state (c)a person employed under the Government of India,serving outside India and (d) member of a force to which provision of the Army Act 1950 have been made applicable
  3. As per the existing arrangements members of (a)Indian Army,Navy and Air Force (b)personnel of General Reserve Engineer Force (Border Road Organization) (c)Border Security Force (d)Indo Tibetan Border Police, (e)Assam Rifles (f)National Security Guards (g)Central Reserve Police Force (h)Central Industrial Security Force and (I)Sashastra Seema Bal are eligible to be registered as service voters.
  4. A Service Voter can cast his/her vote by proxy also.They may appoint (By applying to returning officer in Form 13 F available at the website of ECI) any person as his/her proxy to cast vote on his/her behalf in his/her at the polling station.However,proxy should be a registered voter of that constituency.
  5. As per the data sourced from the ECI website, this year a total of 16.6 lakh service voters are enrolled in the country in comparison to the figure of 13.2 lakh in 2014.
  6. While States like Uttar Pradesh,Bihar and Rajasthan have larger number of service voters,Uttarakhand has also got a large number of services voters.Garhwal parliamentary constituency has maximum number of service voters among all the five constituencies of Uttarakhand.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

India highest recipient of remittances at $79 bn in 2018: World Bank

  1. According to the World Bank’s Migration and Development report,India has retained its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances with its diaspora sending a USD 79 billion back home in 2018.India was followed by China,Mexico,Philippines and Egypt.
  2. A foreign remittance is a transfer of money from a foreign worker to their family or other individuals in their home countries.
  3. According to the report,remittances to low-and middle-income countries reached a record high of USD 529 billion in 2018,an increase of 9.6% over the previous record high of USD 483 billion in 2017.
  4. The report said that increase in remittances was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) countries.
  5. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional inter-governmental political and economic bloc of Bahrain,Kuwait,Oman,Qatar,Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

IMF forecasts dip in global growth in 2019

  1. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its World Economic Outlook(WEO) report has said that India is projected to grow at 7.3% in 2019 and 7.5% in 2020.The growth will be supported by the continued recovery of investment and robust consumption,thus remaining the fastest growing major economy of the world.
  2. IMF expects inflation to remain below the Reserve Bank of India’s threshold of 4% in the current fiscal at 3.9% and marginally exceed at 4.2% next year. Further,Current account deficit is expected to be around 2.5% of GDP.Current account measures the flow of goods,services and investments into and out of the country.We run into a current account deficit if the value of the goods and services we import exceeds the value of those we export.
  3. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also projected that global growth will be 3.3% in 2019 as against 3.6% in 2018 and 4% in 2017.This lower projection is due to (a)lower global expansion in the second half of 2018 caused by U.S.-China trade tensions (b)macroeconomic stress in Turkey and Argentina (c)tighter credit policies in China and (d)financial tightening in advanced economies.
  4. IMF has also said that the continued implementation of structural and financial sector reforms with efforts to reduce public debt remain essential to secure the Indian economy’s growth prospects.Further,the report emphasized on enhancing governance of public sector banks and reforms to hiring and dismissal regulations that would incentivize job creation and absorb the country’s large demographic dividend.
  5. IMF has also praised the Indian government for taking steps to strengthen financial sector balance sheets through accelerated resolution of non-performing assets (NPAs) under a simplified bankruptcy framework.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Nirmohi Akhara moves Supreme Court against Centre’s Ayodhya ‘surplus’ land return plea

  1. Nirmohi Akhara, one of the main litigants in the Ayodhya case, has filed a plea in the Supreme Court, opposing the Centre’s move to transfer excess land around the disputed site to its original owners. The land was acquired by the government in 1993 under the Ayodhya Acquisition Act
  2. In January 2019, the Centre had moved to the SC to seek permission to return all excess acquired to Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (RJN), a trust formed to promote and oversee the construction of a Ram temple. The centre has sought a modification in 2003 SC judgement by which the Central government was directed to maintain the “status quo” with regard to entire land including the non-disputed acquired plots.
  3. However, Nirmohi Akhara has opposed Centre’s move and advocated that release of these lands would undermine the outcomes of pleas on Ayodhya case pending in the Supreme Court.
  4. In March 2019, the Supreme Court had ordered mediation to attempt a solution to the Ayodhya dispute. The court formed a mediation panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge F M Ibrahim Kalifulla. Spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu are the other panel members.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Reserve Bank of India issues norms for banks to set up currency chests

  1. The Reserve Bank of India has come out with guidelines for banks to set up new currency chests.
  2. The guidelines issued are (a)New currency chests should include minimum area of 1,500 square feet for strong room/Vault.For those situated in hilly/ inaccessible places,the strong room/ vault area should be at least 600 sq ft (b)The new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.For those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places,it should have a capacity of 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day and (c)The currency chests should have Chest Balance Limit (CBL) of ₹1,000 crore, subject to ground realities and reasonable restrictions at the discretion of the Reserve Bank.
  3. Currency chests are branches of selected banks authorised by the RBI to stock rupee notes and coins.The responsibility for managing the currency in circulation is vested in the RBI.
  4. The central bank advises the Centre on the number of notes to be printed,the currency denominations,security features and so on.The number of notes that need to be printed is determined using a statistical model that takes the pace of economic growth,the rate of inflation and the replacement rate of soiled notes.However,government has reserved the right to determine the amount of coins that have to be minted.
  5. The RBI offices in various cities receive the notes from note presses and coins from the mints.These are sent to the currency chests and small coin depots from where they are distributed to bank branches.The RBI has set up over 4,075 currency chests all over the country. Besides these,there are around 3,746 bank branches that act as small coin depots to stock small coins.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Ensure level playing field: EC to DD News

  1. The Election Commission (EC) has asked DD News channel to ensure a level playing field for all political parties. The EC has observed that DD News had given disproportionate airtime coverage to political parties and thus did not follow the principle of maintaining neutrality and a level playing field.
  2. Level playing field means each party and each candidate, irrespective of their size or popularity, is given the equal opportunity to put their case to voters.
  3. Opposition parties had alleged that DD News, an official broadcaster, had given preferential treatment to the party in power and the channel has been used to promote and advertise election campaign for the party. The oppositions had sought EC’s intervention alleging that this was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
  4. Model code of Conduct (MCC) are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections.
  5. Issue of advertisement at the cost of public money in the newspapers and other media and the misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements amounts to violation of MCC.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Jurisdiction no bar in dowry harassment case, says Supreme Court

  1. The Supreme Court has ruled that that cruelty under Section 498A is a continuing offence, considering the facts and circumstances of each case. The Supreme Court has said that women can file dowry harassment cases from the place where they are currently sheltered after leaving or being driven out of their matrimonial home.
  2. The SC observed that the adverse psychological trauma and mental agony of a woman is attributable to the cruelty committed in matrimonial home and thus is a continuing offence.
  3. The Supreme Court’s judgement came on a plea filed by Rupali Devi against the Allahabad High Court judgement which dismissed her plea to file a dowry harassment case from her parents’ house
  4. In 1983, Section 498-A was added to IPC to curb the menace of cruelty to married women, which often led to dowry deaths. Under the section, cruelty to a woman by her husband or any relative of her husband is punishable with an imprisonment for a term of three years and also with fine.
  5. The Indian Government also enacted Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005. Domestic violence under the act includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic. The Act covers all women who may be mother, sister, wife, widow or partners living in a shared household.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Centre defies SC order on CIC appointments

  1. Central Government has denied a Right to Information (RTI) request for details of the ongoing recruitment process for four vacancies in the Central Information Commission (CIC).It was denied despite a recent Supreme Court order mandating that such information be made public.
  2. Earlier,the Supreme Court has directed the Centre and the States  to ensure transparency in the process of appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners.
  3. The apex court had directed the Centre and States to upload on the website the details of the process so that there would be more transparency.The court also directed the search committee to make the criteria for appointment public to ensure that the appointments are made objectively.Further,court had said that the short-listed candidates should be from across various fields and not just from bureaucracy.
  4. The Central Information Commission (CIC) is an 11 member commission set up under the Right to Information Act,2005 as a quasi judicial body.It is the highest appeal body available to applicants seeking information under the RTI Act.
  5. CIC and members are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a committee consisting of (a) Prime Minister as Chairperson (b) the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and (c) Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
  6. Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.The basic objective of the Right to Information Act is to (a)empower the citizens (b)promote transparency accountability in the working of the Government (c)contain corruption and (d)make our democracy work for the people in real sense.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Efforts to trace, deport illegal foreigners in Assam have been poor, unsatisfactory: State Chief Secretary tells SC

  1. Assam’s Chief Secretary has admitted to the Supreme Court that the state government’s performance to trace illegal foreigners and deport them had been lackadaisical and poor. The Supreme Court has directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit before April 25 suggesting measures for release of detenuees from Assam’s detention centres.
  2. Chief Secretary’s admission was in response to Supreme Court’s query on Assam government’s course of action to deal with illegal foreigners and their timely deportation. The SC is hearing a plea which raised the issue of dismal living conditions in the detention centres of Assam.
  3. An illegal foreigner is declared so by Foreigners Tribunals of Assam. Foreigners Tribunal (FT) was set up in Assam in 1964 through the Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964. The tribunals have been mandated with identifying the legal status of suspected foreigners in Assam.
  4. According to Citizenship Act 1955, an illegal migrant is a foreigner who enters the country without valid travel documents, like a passport and visa, or enters with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period. Foreigner is one who is not a citizen of India. Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

India’s gold reserves increase marginally in February: WGC

  1. According to the latest data from World Gold Council (WGC), India has marginally increased its gold holding in February 2019. India’s gold holding increased from 607 tonnes in January to 608.7 tonnes in February. Gold holding is a central banks’ total holding of gold as a percentage of their foreign exchange reserves.
  2. Early in March, a recent report by World Gold Council had ranked India 11th in terms of gold holding. Among countries, India ranked 10thin terms of gold holding. USA ranked first followed by Germany, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Italy and France.
  3. Among Asian countries, Mainland China (7) and Japan (9) ranked better than India. Pakistan ranked 45thwhile Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ranked 63rd and 66th
  4. The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. It is an association of world’s leading gold producers.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

No apology for Jallianwala Bagh for now, says U.K.

  1. The British government has refused to apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre during a debate in the UK parliament.
  2. The UK government has said that financial implications as one of the factors it had to consider while reflecting upon demands for a formal apology for Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
  3. However,the UK government has expressed deep regret over the massacre in Amritsar on April 13,1919.UK has said that the issue of appropriately making an apology on the 100th anniversary remains a work in progress.
  4. Jallianwala Bagh massacre is also known as the Amritsar Massacre.On 13th April 1919,thousands of people were gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew.
  5. Colonel Reginald Dyer had announced curfew and a ban on all processions that even prohibited a group of 4 or more people to meet publicly.However,General Dyer sensed the number of people present there and the secret meeting that was about to take place.
  6. Thus,he arrived with armed troops and ordered to open fire.The troops were ordered to start shooting,this heinous act of violence resulted in extreme mass killing.
  7. The British government had then appointed the Hunter Commission to inquire into the happenings.The ineffective inquiry and the initial accolades for Dyer by the House of Lords fuelled widespread anger was one of the causes of the Non-cooperation Movement of 1920–22.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Scientific Convention on World Homoeopathy Day Inaugurated Today

  1. The two-day Convention on World Homeopathy Day has recently been launched by the Ministry of AYUSH. The convention is being organised by the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), an autonomous research organisation under the Ministry of AYUSH.
  2. A wide range of topics will be covered in the convention such as a) Linking education and clinical practice with research, b) Homoeopathic Education, c) Drug Development & Validation, d), Homoeopathy in public health, e) Road ahead for Homeopathy etc.
  3. The World Homeopathy Day is celebrated every year on April 10thto commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Christian Fredrich Samuel Hahnemann. It aims to create awareness about the alternative system of medicine and to improve accessibility and success rate.
  4. The Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homepathy) was established in 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care.
  5. The Ministry runs several schemes that provides support and motivation for promotion of Homoeopathy. Example: Short Term Studentship in Homoeopathy Scheme (STSH) for undergraduate Students, CCRH Scholarship Scheme for MD Students.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

India becomes YouTube’s largest and fastest growing market

  1. YouTube’s CEO has said that India is the largest and fastest growing audience for YouTube. YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. It is one of Google’s subsidiaries.
  2. YouTube has more than 265 million monthly active users in India. In last one year, YouTube’s consumption on mobile has increased to 85%, with 60% of the watch time coming from outside of the six largest metros in India.
  3. The development is an indication of substantial growth in internet coverage and data growth In India. The government has introduced Digital India programme which has a core vision to provide digital infrastructure – make high speed internet available to citizens.
  4. India also has BharatNet project (previously known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)) in place which seeks to provide high speed broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats across India.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Sri Lanka opens new railway line built with China’s assistance

  1. Sri Lanka has opened a new railway line which was built with China’s assistance.It connects its coastal city of Matara and Beliatta in Hambantota.
  2. The 26.75-km long Matara-Beliatta railway line is the first to be constructed in Sri Lanka since it became independent in 1948.The new rail segment will be a boost to Sri Lanka’s regional transportation
  3. China has said that it has built the rail line under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project.However,Sri Lanka has pointed out that construction of the rail track was launched in 1991,long before the BRI was launched by China in 2013.
  4. Sri Lanka was the major recipient of Chinese loans and investments in recent years totalling to over USD 8 billion.The heavy borrowing by Sri Lanka has raised concerns over its ability to pay back after Colombo handed over the Hambantota port to Beijing for a 99-year lease in 2017 as a debt swap.
  5. The acquisition of the port by China as a debt swap had drew criticism from the US and India which termed the BRI projects as a debt trap for smaller countries.
  6. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving (a)regional integration, (b)increasing trade and (c)stimulating economic growth.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

Pakistan issues 2,200 visas to Indian pilgrims

  1. Pakistan has issued 2200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations.During their visit to Pakistan,the pilgrims will visit the shrine of Panja Sahib,Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib.
  2. Pilgrimages between India and Pakistan are governed by the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines.Under this framework,a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan every year.Similarly, Pakistani pilgrims also visit India.
  3. Baisakhi is a spring harvest festival for Sikhs and Hindus.It is usually celebrated on April 13 or 14 every year.It marks the Sikh New Year and commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |

India seeks to push reforms,development agenda at WTO

  1. India will be hosting the second informal meeting of trade ministers from about 20 member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 13,2019.
  2. This meeting assumes significance as several countries are raising questions over the relevance of the WTO.Many countries are also taking protectionist measures which is impacting the global trade.
  3. However,India has time and again stressed the importance and relevance of the WTO for promoting global trade.Further,India will seek to get developing countries to discuss the future of the multilateral body and the development agenda next month.
  4. A key aspect on the agenda is a discussion on a global framework for e-commerce,an issue that is being pushed hard by the US.Even China is not against negotiations.Further,India may also be willing to discuss the issue as it had recently floated a draft e-commerce policy as part of the preparations.
  5. Recently,India had told the WTO that it will not join the negotiations to develop trade rules on e-commerce.India fears that new rules could provide the pretext for unfair mandatory market access to foreign companies.This will hurt the rapidly growing domestic e-commerce sector,which is still under initial stages.
  6. Further,another key element of the development agenda will be the US proposal to do away with special and differential(S&D) treatment for developing countries such as India,China,Brazil and South Africa.
  7. The WTO Agreements contain special provisions which give developing countries special rights.These are called special and differential treatment provisions.These special provisions includes longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments or measures to increase trading opportunities for developing countries.
  8. The US has argued that the better-off developing countries may be eating up the gains that should accrue to the poorer nations in the category. However,India and the others have maintained that there was a need to ensure that S&D treatment remains as they are still home to a large number of poor and vulnerable sections.
Posted in UPSC Daily Current Affairs Brief |
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April 10, 2019

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