(Free E-book) Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam VOL-6


Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam

VOL - 6 (6th January 2014 TO 12th January 2014)


Issue : VOL - 6 (6th January 2014 TO 12th January 2014)

File Type: PDF ONLY "NO HARD COPY"

Covered Topics:

  • National 

  • NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA

  • Ministry of External affairs

  • Planning Commission of India

  • International

  • Economy

  • India And The World

  • Sports

  • In The News

  • Science and Technology

  • Burning Issues (Editorials From Different Newspapers)

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NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA

A GLINT OF INDIA

THE LIST OF PRESIDENTS AND VICE-PRESIDENTS OF INDIA SINCE 1947 TILL DATE

Presidents of India

Name

Tenure

Dr Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) 26 January 1950-13 May 1962
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) 13 May 1962-13 May 1967
Dr Zakir Hussain (1897-1969) 13 May 1967-3 May 1969
Varahagiri Venkatagiri (1884-1980) (Acting) 3 May 1969-20 July 1969
Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah (1905-1992) (Acting) 20 July 1969-24 August 1969
Varahagiri Venkatagiri (1884-1980) 24 August 1969-24 August 1974
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1905-1977) 24 August 1974-11 February 1977
B.D. Jatti (1913-2002) (Acting) 11 February 1977-25 July 1977
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (1913-1996) 25 July 1977-25 July 1982
Giani Zail Singh (1916-1994) 25 July 1982-25 July 1987
R. Venkataraman (1910-2009) 25 July 1987-25 July 1992
Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma (1918-1999) 25 July 1992-25 July 1997
K.R. Narayanan (1920-2005) 25 July 1997-25 July 2002
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (Birth-1931) 25 July 2002-25 July 2007
Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil (Birth-1934) 25 July 2007 - 25 July 2012
Shri Pranab Mukherjee (Birth-1935) 25 July 2012 - Incumbent

(Courtesy: NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA)

Ministry of External affairs

President Park Gyun-hye’s forthcoming State Visit to India

  • The first lady President of the Republic of Korea, HE Park Gyun-hye is visiting India on 15 – 18 January 2013 at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee. The visit would be a major landmark in the rapidly deepening bilateral relationship between the 3rd and 4th largest economies of Asia. The visit of President Park in the very first year of her 5 year term is a forceful iteration of her administration’s commitment to the strong ties forged with India by her predecessor President Lee Myung – bak.

  • India had acknowledged the importance of India – ROK relations by inviting former President Lee Myung – bak as the Chief Guest at the 61st Republic Day celebrations in January 2010. During the visit the bilateral relationship was raised to the level of "Strategic Partnership” from the "Long Term Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity” declared at the time of President Rho Mou-hyun’s state visit to India in 2004. President Rho was from the liberal side and Presidents Lee and Park are from the conservative party. It is reassuring to note that in both the countries there is complete bipartisan support to a strong friendship between India and ROK. President Lee Myung inspecting the Guard of Honour at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi in January, 2010.

  • Over the years, India and ROK relations have passed through several distinct phases. The 1950s were a period of estrangement between democratic India and authoritarian South Korea. 1960s and 70s also witnessed only a limited engagement as ROK continued to be authoritarian. In the 1980s, ROK’s remarkable economic progress caught the attention of Indian leadership. Once ROK embraced real democracy in the late 1980s the bilateral relations grew rapidly.

  • The visit of Prime Minster P.V. Narasimha Rao to ROK in 1993 paved the way for the entry of Korean Chaebols into India. Over time Korean companies like Samsung, LG and Hyundai Motors have become household names in India. Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao visited Republic of Korea in 1993.

(Courtesy: Ministry of External affairs)

Planning Commission of India

Education Division

Through the various Five Year Plans, the scope of work of the Education Division covers the following:

  • Different stages of education such as Pre-primary, formal and non-formal Education, Secondary, Senior Secondary, University and Technical Education.

  • Special areas such as that of girls' education, Education for the children of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes.

  • Adult Education and Education in the backward areas.

  • The major Education programs relate to achieving the aim of Universalisation of Elementary Education through Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Adult Education, Vocationalization of Education, Teacher Education, Science Education, Educational Planning, Administration and Supervision, Physical Education, Games and Sports, Scholarship, Language Development, Book Promotion, Libraries, Youth Service Schemes, Cultural Institutions and activities etc.

  • The Education Division performs the following functions, within the areas of its concern.

  • Formation of long-term, medium-term and annual plans for the Central and the State/Union Territories levels, defining the phases in which they should be implemented, assigning their inter-se priorities and resource allocation.

  • Coordination of the education plans of the States/Union Territories and the central agencies including the University Grants Commission and the National Council of Education Research & Training as well as of the national-educational plan with the development plans in other sectors, assessing and indicating adjustments needed in the plan policies, programs and priorities so as to achieve national goals and objectives.

(Courtesy: Planning Commission of India)

NATIONAL EVENTS

Pre-marital sex immoral

  • Pre-marital sex is “immoral” and against the “tenets of every religion”, a court of Delhi said while holding that every act of sexual intercourse between two adults on the promise of marriage does not become rape.

  • Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat also held that a woman, especially grown up, educated and office-going, who has sexual intercourse on the assurance of marriage does so “at her own peril”.

  • According to the court, “When a grown up woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse with a friend or colleague on the latter’s promise that he would marry her, she does so at her own peril. She must be taken to understand the consequences of her act and must know that there is no guarantee that the boy would fulfill his promise. He may or may not do so. She must understand that she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion. No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex.”

Panel on sexual harassment

  • The Aam Aadmi Party has announced the setting up of an internal committee on sexual harassment as per the Vishaka guidelines of the Supreme Court.

  • The panel will comprise Atishi Marlena, Preeti Sharma Menon and Leela Ramdass.

  • Giving the information Dilip Pandey, a member of the Political Affairs Committee said while Ms. Marlena and Ms. Menon are members of the party, Ms. Ramdass is a social activist.

  • The AAP, claimed Mr. Pandey, is the first party to set up such a committee.

  • The Vishaka judgment by the Supreme Court laid down the guidelines for employers for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment/assault at the workplace, and stipulated the formation of committees to dispose of complaints from victims.

INTERNATIONAL

Confiscated ivory

  • In an unprecedented move, China publicly destroyed 6.1 tonnes of confiscated ivory to shed its image as the world’s biggest market for smuggled elephant tusks and discourage illegal trade and poaching.

  • The public event was held in Dongguan city of the booming Guangdong Province in southern China, considered a key area where illegal trade of ivory is widely reported.

  • The event, the first public ivory destruction in China, was the country’s latest effort to discourage illegal ivory trade, protect wildlife and raise public awareness.

  • China’s move came two months after the United States destroyed its stockpile of ivory for the first time in 25 years of collecting items sold in the illegal ivory trade.

  • Conservation groups have been saying that China, which has a vast middle class with growing spending power, is the world’s biggest market for ivory.

  • The international ivory trade was banned in 1989, but black markets still thrive in parts of the world, and poachers kill an estimated 96 elephants in Africa a day to obtain their tusks, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

  • Increasing demand for ivory is fuelling a brutal slaughter of African elephants.

China-Japan feud

  • Diplomats from China and Japan were invoking the evil Lord Voldemort from the bestselling “Harry Potter” series in their feud over the Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo.

  • China said the shrine, which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited, glorifies Japan’s militaristic past.

  • Writing in The Telegraph last week, China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom said- “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.”

  • A horcrux contains part of Voldemort’s soul, and all seven horcruxes must be destroyed to kill him.

  • In response, the Japanese ambassador said China plays “the role of Voldemort in the region by letting loose the evil of an arms race and escalation of tensions.”

INDIA AND THE WORLD

India-Japan Defence Deal

  • India and Japan resolved to continue their defence consultation and cooperation, including in maritime security, at a meeting of their Defence Ministers A.K. Antony and Itsunori Onodera.
  • Mr. Onodera briefed the Indian delegation of Japan’s National Security Strategy and National Defence Program Guidelines, which were adopted in December last.

ECONOMY

Flow of credit to SHGs

  • Disproportionate credit disbursement and weak bank credit linkages remain a persistent challenge for several States including Bihar, Jharkhand and Gujarat. Taking note of this, the Government has stepped in and is taking several steps to improve bank linkages of Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country.

  • This lopsided focus reportedly is mostly due to credit disbursement remaining confined to the ‘usual gang of four States’ - Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala of this (SHG) credit.

  • As per the figures presented in NABARD’s report, “Status of Microfinance in India 2012-13”, over 35 lakh SHGS were saving linked and 68 per cent were credit linked in the Southern States. The corresponding figures for Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Gujarat are over 20 lakh and 47 per cent respectively.

  • More specifically, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana has been restructured as the National Rural Livelihoods (NRLM). NRLM, through a dedicated implementation mechanism under the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLM) is focusing on improving the quality of SHGs.

  • Under the Women Self Help Group (WSHG) scheme administered by NABARD, in 150 districts over 80,000 SHGs have been formed of which 20,000 have been credit linked.

Direct tax collection

  • Gross direct taxes collected during April-December 2013 rose 12.33 per cent to Rs 4,81,914 crore. Out of this, gross corporate taxes collections were up 9.35 per cent to Rs 3,10,126 crore and the personal income tax mop-up increased by 18.53 per cent to Rs 1,67,589 crore, according to official data.

  • Securities Transaction Tax (STT) collections stand at Rs. 3,427 crore, showing a growth of 4.04 per cent. Wealth Tax collections posted a growth of 11.92 per cent at Rs. 742 crore.

  • The government had fixed the direct tax collection target in the Union Budget of over Rs 6.68 lakh crore for 2013-14, aiming for a growth of 19 per cent over the collections in 2012-13.

  • The slower-than-target growth will make Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s task of keeping the fiscal deficit, or the excess of the government’s spending over its revenues, within the target of 4.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) tougher. Mr. Chidambaram has said that the government will not allow the fiscal deficit target to be breached.

ENVIRONMENT

Fossil National Park

  • The management plan of the Pithoragarh Forest Division for 2011 to 2021 has proposed that the Lapthal region be declared a Fossil National Park.

  • The region is close to the Indo-Tibetan border. Some part of it lies in Pithoragarh district and the rest in Chamoli district.

  • The detailed proposal is being prepared by the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve officials. Once the mapping is over, the Fossil National Park would be spread across an area measuring 500 to 1,000 sq-km, most of which lies 4,500 metres above mean sea level. The area is the exposed bed of an ancient sea, which disappeared during the formation of the Himalayas.

  • The area has sparse vegetation. Several swamps and pools in the area are home to various species of flora and fauna. Snow leopard, musk deer, Tibetan wild ass, woolly hare, and Tibetan wolf are among the species found in the region.

  • The region being close to the international border is guarded by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve administration.

Eco clearance regulator

  • The Supreme Court has directed the government to appoint a Regulator with offices in States under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for appraising projects, enforcing environmental conditions for approvals and imposing penalties on polluters.

  • A Green Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik, T.S. Thakur and Ibrahim Kalifulla gave the Centre time till March 31 to make the appointment and directed it to file a compliance report. The Bench told Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran that it would have ordered the appointment with immediate effect but granted the government time keeping the interest of economy in mind.

  • The Regulator could exercise “only such powers and functions of the Central government under the Environment (Protection) Act as are entrusted to it and obviously cannot exercise the powers of the Central government under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.” While exercising powers under the Environment Protection Act, the Regulator would ensure that the National Forest Policy, 1988 was duly implemented as held in this court’s July 6, 2011 order in the case of Lafarge Umiam Mining.

SCIENCE AND TECH

Third orbit boost on GSAT-14

  • The third manoeuvre to boost the orbit of GSAT-14, India’s advanced communication satellite, was successfully executed, making the orbit more or less circular.

  • The ground controllers at the Master Control Facility of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) did this by giving commands to the satellite’s propulsion system, called the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) to fire.

  • Over the coming days it would be allowed to gradually drift until it reached its final slot at 74 degrees E longitude.

  • The satellite’s east and west antennae, which are used for communicating with it from the ground, were deployed at 9.18am and 11.30am respectively.

  • GSAT-14 would be used for telecasting programmes, telecommunication, tele-education and tele-medicine.

  • ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, called GSLV-D5, put GSAT-14 into a highly elliptical orbit on January 5 with a perigee of 179km and an apogee of 35,950km. A cryogenic engine built in India had propelled the GSLV-D5 into a perfect geosynchronous transfer orbit on that day. GSAT-14 will have a mission life of 12 years.

14 new gene targets in Alzheimer’s

  • Scientists have identified 14 new genes potentially implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

  • One gene in particular demonstrates the important role inflammation may play in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers who successfully generated a stem cell model of familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD), have found.

  • A team of scientists at The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) produced stem cells and neural precursor cells (NPCs), representing early neural progenitor cells that build the brain from patients with severe early-onset AD with mutations in the Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) gene.

  • These NPCs had elevated Abeta42/Abeta40 ratios, indicating elevation of the form of amyloid found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

  • These levels were greater than those in adult cells that did not have the PSEN1 mutation. This elevated ratio shows that the NPCs grown in the petri dish accurately reflected the cells in the brains of FAD patients.

SPORTS

MS Dhoni: captain in all three formats

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not averse to the idea of continuing as the skipper of the the Indian cricket team in all the three formats, saying it would be unfair to burden a new player with the mantle of captaincy with just one year left for the World Cup.

  • Dhoni had, last year, said that he might have to give up a format to lead India's title defence in 2015 but such a decision would be made only at the end of 2013. Dhoni will be 33 by the time the World Cup starts in Australia and New Zealand.

World’s top junior shuttler: Aditya Joshi

  • Young shuttler Aditya Joshi from Madhya Pradesh has become the first male junior badminton player from India to be ranked top in the world.

  • Aditya, 17, recently got the number one slot in the January rankings of the World Badminton Federation (WBF).

  • Aditya was at the 11th position till November, but he managed to jump ahead of all the players by achieving 18,776 points.

  • Aditya started playing badminton in 2001 when he was only five and very soon, he started winning in the categories above his age in the local tournaments.

  • Within six years, he started proving himself at the international arena and clinched the gold in Remensco junior international tournament held in Russia in 2011. During the same year, he won a gold medal in Asian sub-junior championship held in Japan.

  • His victory in the national junior championship held at Chandigarh in December 2012 made way for his top ranking.

  • Aditya was the national champion in 2013 and had won two gold medals in junior international tournament held at Pune and silver in the senior national championship while his age corresponds to junior category.

IN THE NEWS (PERSONS)

Bill Gates:

  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been named as the most admired person on the planet with cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar fifth on a list of 30 people compiled after a poll in 13 countries, including India.

  • The ‘World’s most admired people poll’ was conducted by YouGov for The Timesby surveying almost 14,000 people in Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, the US, Australia, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and Brazil.

  • There were four Indians in the top ten and seven overall in the list of 30 most-admired people.

  • Sachin was fifth with six other Indians featuring in the list - BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (7th), Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan (9th), former President Abdul Kalam (10th), social activist Anna Hazare (14th), Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (18th) and Business tycoon Ratan Tata (30th).

  • Mr. Gates the co-founder of Microsoft and a billionaire philanthropist, earned more admiration than U.S. President Barack Obama who was second, Russian President Vladimir Putin (3rd), Pope Francis (4th) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (6th) to claim the title.

Ariel Sharon:

  • Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon died at 85, after eight years in a coma, Israeli media reports said.
  • Mr. Sharon, one of the country’s most prominent military and political leaders for decades, served as prime minister between 2001 and 2006.
  • He suffered a massive stroke while campaigning for re-election on January 4, 2006, in a race he had been tipped to win.

Selected Editorials of Importance

No real winners in Bangladesh

The elections in Bangladesh went off predictably — amid a boycott by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its 18 smaller allies, lots of violence, loss of life and property, and a victory for the Awami League. As many as 30 people died on the election weekend, and on voting day activists and supporters of the boycotting parties went about burning polling booths. The Election Commission says the turnout was just less than 40 per cent, a figure hotly contested by the Opposition which put it at a quarter of that. In any case it was nowhere close to the nearly 80 per cent turnout in 2008 — the highest in Bangladesh — that gave Sheikh Hasina a landslide victory. This time, the Awami League was assured of victory even before a single vote was cast — it faced no contest in half of the 300 parliamentary seats due to the boycott. In the remaining ones, the party faced opposition from its own dissidents, and won 110, thus obtaining an absolute majority. Although Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared her satisfaction with the turnout, and asked law enforcing authorities to quell the continuing unrest with an “iron hand”, she must know that questions about the credibility of this election will not easily vanish. In a nation that has worked hard to build some of the best social indicators in South Asia — Bangladesh has cut ahead of India on reducing poverty and malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality rates and gender disparities — such unending political and civil strife can only undermine the gains of the last few years.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister has rejected calls, including by the United States, for dialogue with the Opposition and fresh elections. She has declared that talks with the Opposition can be held only when the BNP ends “violence and terrorism” and severs its alliance with the banned Jamaat-e-Islami. But a mid-term election may become a necessity if the political chaos does not abate. It is time the Awami League realised that while its fight against Islamism is a good fight, it simply cannot be won by polarising the nation politically. It will take two, though. BNP leader Khaleda Zia needs to discover better alternatives to expressing political differences than holding the country ransom to street violence and thuggery. As for her dalliance with Islamism, she has Pakistan’s example to see what opportunistic alliances with religious extremism can do to a country. New Delhi’s description of the elections as a “constitutional requirement” that Prime Minister Hasina has fulfilled, is too nuanced to serve any useful purpose; in fact, it only makes it seem partisan. If India really wants to help progressive and liberal forces in Bangladesh, it must use its cordial ties with the Awami League to work at breaking the deadlock.

(Courtesy: THE HINDU)

MCQs

Q1.

i) Jains could soon become the sixth designated minority community of the country.
ii) Jains who make up 0.4 per cent of the country’s population if given minority status will bring them under the ambit of the National Commission for Minorities and allow the community to run their educational institutions as per the same rules that govern all minority 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

Q2.

i) Rs.1,000-crore Nirbhaya Fund announced last year by Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram, to ensure the safety and security of travelling women, continues to remain a nonstarter.
ii) The Election Commission has accepted the proposal of the U.S. based internet search engine Google to have an “electoral look up services for citizens.”

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

Q3.

i) The anti-niqab law was passed in France on grounds of security, with lawmakers carefully skirting the issue of religion.
ii) A record-breaking cold snap known as the "polar vortex" has swept across the whole country of Australia, making temperatures drop down in minus.

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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