Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam VOL - 4 (23rd December 2013 TO 29th December 2013)


Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam

VOL - 4 (23rd December 2013 TO 29th December 2013)


Issue : VOL - 4 (23rd December 2013 TO 29th December 2013)

File Type: PDF ONLY "NO HARD COPY"

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Covered Topics:


NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA

A GLINT OF INDIA

Particulars Description
Population India's population, as on 1 March 2011 stood at 1,210,193,422 (623.7 million males and 586.4 million females).
Population Growth Rate The average annual exponential growth rate stands at 1.64 per cent during 2001-2011.
Birth Rate The Crude Birth rate was 18.3 in 2009.
Death Rate The Crude Death rate was 7.3 in 2009.
Life Expectancy Rate 65.8 years (Males); 68.1 years (Females) in the period 2006-2011.
Sex Ratio 940 females per 1000 males according to 2011 census
Nationality Indian
Ethnic Groups All the five major racial types - Australoid, Mongoloid, Europoid, Caucasian, and Negroid find representation among the people of India.
Religions According to the 2001 census, out of the total population of 1,028 million in the Country, Hindus constituted the majority with 80.5%, Muslims came second at 13.4%, followed by Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and others.
Languages There are 22 different languages that have been recognised by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi is an Official Language. Article 343(3) empowered Parliament to provide by law for continued use of English for official purposes.
Literacy According to the provisional results of the 2011 census, the literacy rate in the Country stands at 74.04 per cent, 82.14% for males and 65.46% for females.

(Courtesy: NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA)

Ministry of External affairs

Development Partnership Administration

  • Over the past few years, India's development assistance has started to cover large number of countries and consequently, the projects being implemented by the Ministry of External Affairs have increased substantially. Recognizing this, the Development Administration Partnership (DPA) was created in the Ministry of External Affairs in January 2012 to effectively handle India’s aid projects through the stages of concept, launch, execution and completion.

  • India's development partnership is based on the needs identified by the partner countries and the effort of the Ministry is geared towards accommodating as many of the requests received from partner countries as is technically and financially possible. DPA has started to create in-house, specialized technical, legal and financial skills in order to fast-track all stages of project implementation.

  • DPA has three Divisions. Currently, DPA I deals with project appraisal and lines of credit; DPA II deals with capacity building schemes, disaster relief, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program and DPA III deals with project implementation.

  • As the Development Administration Partnership in the Ministry of External Affairs is gearing towards meeting its mandate, it is expected that effective and efficient handling of all our aid projects from the stages of concept, launch, execution and completion would result in efficient implementation of projects, in close cooperation and facilitation of the partner countries.

(Courtesy: Ministry of External affairs)

Planning Commission of India

WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT (WCD) DIVISION

  • The Women & Child Development Division is responsible for overseeing policies with respect to ensuring overall survival, development, protection and participation of women and children of the nation in consonance with the commitments made in the Five Year Plans. Apart from central sector and centrally sponsored schemes, the Division works with the States and examines plan proposals of the States and Union Territories review their implementation of the policies and programs of the central government and recommends outlay.

Work Relating to Five Year Plan and Annual Plan

  • Mid Term Appraisal of Five Year Plan. Review of the progress of implementation of policies and programs. Assessment of achievements in terms of physical and financial targets.
  • Chapter for Mid-Term Appraisal with mid term corrections
  • Preparation of material for induction in the Approach paper.
  • Setting up of Steering Committee in the Planning Commission and its related works; organizing meetings, preparation of background/agenda, minutes of the meeting preparation of the steering committee reports. (for Five Year Plan)
  • Examination of Plan Proposals for Five Year Plans and Annual Plans of Ministry of Women and Child development and preliminary discussion with the Ministry and recommendation of the outlays.
  • Setting up of Working Groups on various aspects of Empowerment of Women and Child Development
  • Setting up of Committees/Groups and Task Force on issues relating to Women and Children
  • Preparation of chapter for inclusion in the Five Year Plan Document

 (Courtesy: Planning Commission of India)

NATIONAL EVENTS

Kejriwal : youngest CM of Delhi

  • AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the seventh Chief Minister of Delhi on 28th of December.Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Kejriwal and six other ministers at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi.

  • Six ministers -- Manish Sisodia, Somnath Bharti, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Girish Soni -- also took oath of office and secrecy at the ceremony.

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal kept Home, Finance, Vigilance, Power Planning and Services departments.

  • Mr. Manish Sisodia has been allotted Education, PWD, Urban Development, Local Bodies and Land and Building departments.

  • Administrative Reforms, Law, Tourism and Culture will be taken care of by Mr. Somnath Bharti.

  • The only women Minister, Ms. Rakhi Birla, will handle Social Welfare and Women and Child Development departments. Mr. Girish Soni would handle Labour, Development and SC,ST departments

  • Mr. Satyendra Jain has been allocated Health and Industries departments.Mr. Saurabh Bhardwaj was given the charge of Transport, Food and Civil Supplies and Environment.

  • Arvind Kejriwal is only the second Chief Minister to be an IITian after his Goa counterpart Manohar Parrikar and joins a select group of ministers like Ajit Singh and Jairam Ramesh whose alma mater is the crown jewel of the country's higher education.

  • A product of Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Khargapur, 45-year-old Kejriwal studied Mechanical Engineering and passed out in 1989. Besides Parrikar and Kejriwal, the other IIT alumni who are among the handful of highly-qualified technocrat politicians include Union Ministers Ajit Singh and Jairam Ramesh. Parrikar passed out as a metallurgical engineer from IIT, Mumbai.

  • Like Kejriwal, Ajit Singh, a computer engineer by profession, is a B Tech from IIT, Kharagpur while Ramesh graduated from IIT Bombay with a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering.

INTERNATIONAL

Bobby Jindal will run for president in 2016

  • Top Republican leader and current Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal is planning to run for president in 2016.

  • Bobby Jindal is respected for his leadership, and political values.

  • Jindal's second term as the Lousiana Governor ends in 2015. He can't run for the third term.

Nuclear ties between China and Pakistan

  • China indicated that it will continue providing support for civilian nuclear energy projects in Pakistan, despite concerns voiced by some countries that recent agreements have violated international guidelines governing nuclear trade.

  • Last month, Pakistan formally inaugurated two 1,100 MW projects at the second and third phases of the Karachi nuclear power project. The deals follow Chinese support to the nuclear complex at Chashma, where two reactors have been constructed with Beijing’s assistance,

  • The agreements for third and fourth reactors in Chashma, signed in 2009, triggered controversy as they were the first deals signed by China following its joining of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The nuclear trade body forbids members from transferring technology to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). India obtained a waiver from the body only after undertaking various commitments.

INDIA AND THE WORLD

Khobragade gets exemption

  • India and the U.S. may be moving towards a resolution of the stand-off over senior diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s case with the envoy getting exemption from personal appearance in a New York Court hearing visa fraud charges against her even as she got her accreditation to the UN headquarters.

  • Ms. Khobragade, who was arrested on December 12 in New York, had been transferred by the government to its mission to the UN with a view to giving her full diplomatic immunity. Her accreditation is expected to be followed by some paperwork at the US State Department for which India has already submitted the papers.

  • Simultaneously, her exemption from personal appearance in the court is a significant step towards a way out of the stand-off created by her arrest and strip search which had evoked a sharp reaction by the Indian government which has been pressing the US to drop the charges against her unconditionally.

  • The 39-year-old Ms. Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer posted as Deputy Consul General in New York, was taken into custody on visa fraud charges as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

ECONOMY

Bitcoin operators shut shops in India

  • A number of bitcoin operators in India have begun suspending their business following RBI’s warning against use of such virtual currencies due to potential money laundering and cyber security risks.
  • While RBI is yet to come out with a clear regulatory framework for bitcoins, which have been gaining currency across the world over the past few months, it has issued an advisory cautioning general public against use of bitcoins and other virtual currencies.

  • Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be generated through complex computer software systems with solutions shared on a network, although the process is complex and such ’mining’ can be done only on very powerful servers.

  • Hardly three years into existence, bitcoin has already become the world’s most expensive currency and its per unit value soared past $1,000 level or about Rs. 63,000 recently, although the prices have now slipped below Rs. 50,000 level.

  • There was a phenomenal surge in the exchange rate for bitcoin from little over $200 to well past $1,000 during November, but there has been an extreme volatility since then and the RBI’s warning has further added to its woes in India.

  • Many other websites offering bitcoin services in India have gone down, although a few continue to operate as of now despite increasing regulatory glare on bitcoins globally.

SCIENCE AND TECH

Breakthrough in human organ technology

  • France has claimed a breakthrough in human organ technology with the first implant of an artificial heart designed to replace the need for a transplant from another person.

  • President Francois Hollande, anxious to lift a mood of pessimism over the country’s economy, hailed the event as an example of French innovation.

  • The device, which autonomously mimics the action of a real heart, was implanted in an anonymous 75-year-old man with terminal heart disease on December 18 at the Georges Pompidou European hospital in Paris. He was said by the hospital at the weekend to be awake and talking, making jokes with his family and doctors.

  • France has claimed a breakthrough in human organ technology with the first implant of an artificial heart designed to replace the need for a transplant from another person.

  • President Francois Hollande, anxious to lift a mood of pessimism over the country’s economy, hailed the event as an example of French innovation.

  • The device, which autonomously mimics the action of a real heart, was implanted in an anonymous 75-year-old man with terminal heart disease on December 18 at the Georges Pompidou European hospital in Paris. He was said by the hospital at the weekend to be awake and talking, making jokes with his family and doctors.

  • Several implants were likely in the next few weeks, the company said. Permission has also been given for the procedure in Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and Saudi Arabia.

  • However, the heart still requires development, not least to make it smaller. The current model weighs 900 grammes, three times the weight of a male human heart. It is therefore only suitable for about 75 per cent of male patients and 20 per cent of women.

ENVIRONMENT

Western Ghats protection draft notification

  • The Union Environment Ministry took another step towards implementing the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats by kick-starting the process of draft notification for Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) in six States. But, keeping the protests in Kerala in mind, it made explicitly clear that plantations, agriculture and other routine activities in the ESA declared under the Environment Protection Act, 1972 would not be restricted or impacted.

  • The Ministry had earlier given an in-principle approval to the report by High Level working group on Western Ghats headed by Planning Commission member K. Kasturirangan. The group had recommended declaring 37 per cent of the area of Western Ghats as ESA under the Environment Protection Act, 1972. Under the law only activities explicitly mentioned in formal notification of the ESA are banned while others are permitted by default. But, several sections of society in Kerala had gone up in arms against the decision fearing impact on plantations and agriculture.

  • While these conditions were implicit in the earlier order of the Centre, the Environment Ministry took pains to explain that the final declaration of the zones where certain restricted industrial activities are banned would only be done over time based on consultations with stakeholders.

  • The Ministry also reiterated that any expansion of or new mining, quarrying and sand mining would be banned. New thermal power plants, heavily polluting industries, building and construction projects of 20,000 sq. metre and above, and township and area development projects between 50 hectare or with a built up area of 1,50,000 sq. meter would also not be allowed.

SPORTS

Indian sports in 2013

  • For Indian sport, 2013 was a year of controversies and low-key performances, the country's image globally taking a beating with the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the apex body of world sport. Amid the gloom, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu provided some cheer.

  • It could have been worse as the IOA came perilously close to getting expelled from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In this brinkmanship, the athletes were the biggest losers as the fight for the control of the country's top sports body heated up.

  • Again, the off-circuit machinations conspired in India missing the 2014 Formula One calendar after three successful outings at the Buddh International Circuit.

  • Though organisers Jaypee Group are confident of seeing out the five-year F1 contract from 2015, they would welcome government support needed to make things easier in organising the event for all concerned.

  • This year's Indian Grand Prix was the most action-packed of the three editions, culminating with Sebastian Vettel winning his fourth world title at the age of 26.

  • For Indian football, it was a mixed year. India's season started with a defeat by Palestine in an international friendly in February. They even failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.

  • India, however, moved 24 places, jumping to 143rd position in the FIFA rankings in March. From there on it was a downhill curve for the national team. It lost to Tajikistan in an international friendly and produced one of its worst performances in the SAFF Championship, going down 0-2 to Afghanistan in the final.

  • The national team at least managed to end the year on a high, avenging the SAFF defeat against Nepal in the league stage with a 2-0 win in an international friendly in November.

  • On the domestic front, the highly touted Indian Super League faced another setback as the tournament was postponed for the second time.

  • There was some good news, though, as Indian football received its biggest boost with FIFA awarding the U-17 World Cup to the country. India also made an ambitious bid to bring the FIFA's Club World Cup competition to its shores.

PERSONS IN THE NEWS

Mitchell Johnson

  • Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson may reportedly cap his impressive international comeback by being only the fourth Australian bowler to collect 40 or more wickets in a Test series against England in the 130 years the two combatants have gone head to head.

  • The three other Australians to have that honor are Terry Alderman, who claimed 42 in 1981 and 41 in 1989, Rodney Hogg (41 in 1978/79) and Shane Warne (40 in 2005), with Alderman and Hogg making the mark in six-match series.

Farooq Sheikh

  • Farooq Sheikh passed away in Dubai after a heart attack. He is survived by wife Rupa and daughters Shaista and Sanaa.
  • As someone who trained as a lawyer, Sheikh came to acting after failing to relate to his profession in law. Theatre was something that he was already doing in college.
  • Sheikh made an impressive debut with MS Sathyu's 'Garm Hawa', one of the greatest movies ever made on Partition.
  • His most notable films of that era include Ray's 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi', 'Noorie','Chashme Buddoor', 'Kissi Se Na Kehna', 'Katha', 'Umrao Jaan', 'Faasle' and Sagar Sarhadi's 'Bazaar'.

SELECTED EDITORIALS OF IMPORTANCE

Legal relief for Mr. Modi

The Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate’s finding that there is no evidence to prosecute Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a case relating to the communal riots in 2002 may not be the last word in the legal domain, but is surely of great import for the political fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate. The order is significant for what it did not say: a finding that there was some prosecutable evidence that Mr. Modi had told senior police officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger” would have created a political storm in the run-up to the election and cast a shadow on his candidature. In the event, Magistrate B.J. Ganatra rejected as unreliable the affidavits of Sanjiv Bhatt and R.B. Sreekumar, two police officers who spoke out against him. The matter is far from over, as activists, and survivors of the massacre, are certain to take it up in a higher court. When Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was one of the 69 people killed in the Gulberg Society massacre in Ahmedabad, took up the fight to ensure justice to the victims of the post-Godhra carnage, it was seen as an opportunity to ensure accountability at the highest level in the State government. At issue was whether it could be established that Mr. Modi gave such a controversial instruction to police officers and that to ensure that it was carried out, he placed two Ministers in the police control room.

The Special Investigation Team did not find enough evidence to back this theory. Ms. Jafri’s persistence and the chance she got to rebut the SIT’s findings kept the issue alive. Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who was appointed amicus curiae, disagreed with the probe team’s report and argued that there was prima facie material to proceed against Mr. Modi for “promoting enmity between different groups” and making “imputations prejudicial to national integration”. The Magistrate has upheld the SIT’s report and rejected theories of a “larger conspiracy” by Mr. Modi and others. In an intriguing display of grief a decade after the violence, Mr. Modi has claimed that he was “shaken to the core” by the riots. For those still sceptical about the relevance of the judicial clean chit in the face of the enormity of such state-condoned violence, this would be a much-delayed response to capture the moral high ground, now that the legal issues are behind him. Beyond the legal issues, however, questions over Mr. Modi’s moral and political accountability still remain. The symbolism of Ms. Jafri’s plight — the impression that the Gujarat riot victims are fighting an unequal battle to enforce accountability — is something that political India will find it difficult to ignore.

(Courtesy : THE HINDU)

MCQs

 

Q 1.

i) The socio-economic caste census (SECC) undertaken by the government in 2011 is aimed at identifying BPL (below the poverty line) households that can benefit from the Centre’s welfare schemes.
ii) The aim of National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) is to create best practice sites and to develop them as local immersion locations that generate a pool of social capital for catalysing social mobilisation of the poor and building quality institutions.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true?

a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii

Q 2.

i) Arvind Kejriwal is the sixth Chief Minister of Delhi , who also happens to be the second youngest of all the CMs in the city state till date.
ii) Maharashtra government was asked to “reconsider” its rejection of a judicial commission’s report on the Adarsh housing scandal by Congress Vice- President Rahul Gandhi.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true?

a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii

Q 3.

i) China's top legislative committee formally abolished the country's "re-education through labour" camps and approved a loosening of its one-child policy recently.
ii) Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is the world’s hottest chilli till date.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true?

a) only i
b) only ii
c) both i and ii
d) neither i nor ii

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