Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam
VOL. - 95 (24th September 2015 TO 30th September 2015)
Issue : VOL. - 95 (24th September 2015 TO 30th September 2015)
File Type: PDF ONLY "NO HARD COPY"
:: News from PIB & Various Sources ::
Census 2011 data on Households with or without Educational level of
matriculation and above
The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India today
released the Census 2011 data on Households with at least one member aged 15
years and above with or without Educational level matriculation and above by
Out of about 248.3 million total households with at least one
member of 15 years and above in the country during 2011, around 122.9 million
households (49.5%) have at least one matriculate and above. One decade ago, the
corresponding percentage of households with at least one matriculate and above
was 39.4%. Similarly, the number of households with at least one graduate and
above is 41.4 million (16.7%) in India during 2011 as against 23.6 million
(12.2%) such households in 2001.
During 2011, the number of households with at least one male
matriculate and above is 104.7 million (42.2%) while 75.3 million (30.3%)
households have at least one female matriculate and above in the country. The
last Census of 2011 has also recorded about 33.2 million (13.4%) households with
at least one male graduate and above and 21.9 million (8.8%) households with at
least one female graduate.
Indo Sri Lanka Joint Exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 to Commence from 29 Sep
In continuation with the series of Joint Exercise between
India and Sri Lanka to build Military to Military co-operation and
interoperability, Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-2015 will be conducted shortly at Pune
with the scheduled arrival of the Sri Lankan contingent at Aundh Camp on 29
September 2015. This will be the third joint training exercise between the two
The aim of the joint training is to share the best military
practices and promoting healthy military to military relations between the two
Armies and developing joint strategies by sharing expertise of conducting
operations. The idea is to tap the rich repository of experience of each other
and extract maximum learning value from the joint training. Forming part of
different levels of the military to military engagement across the entire
spectrum of operations, this exercise will enrich the two contingents in further
honing basic military skills.
The exercise is planned for a duration of 14 days with the
basic objective of enhancing confidence and trust between the two militaries,
which are often called upon to engage in anti terrorism operations including
those under the UN mandate. The conduct of Joint Military Exercise is also an
important step to uphold the values of Peace, Prosperity and Stability in the
region. Senior military observers of both the countries will be attending the
Final Tactical Exercise scheduled to be held at Aundh Military Station on 10 and
11 Oct 2015.
Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-2015 will contribute immensely in developing mutual
understanding and respect for each other’s military.
Intervention by Environment Minister at the Second Meeting of the Business
Dialogue for COP 21
The following is the text of the Intervention made by Union
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, at
the Second Meeting of the Business Dialogue for COP-21 held at UNFCCC in New
“The world must incentivize green growth activities as ‘Green
Credit’ instead of Carbon Credit Mechanism, which provides a way out for the
Emitter to get rid of the blame of pollution by paying for the emissions. India
has put forward new ideas and proposed debate on lifestyle issues, climate
justice and green credit mechanism.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was a success for the first
commitment period ending in 2012. Demand-supply mismatch and low ambition for
emission reduction expressed by developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol is
a major cause for the slowdown of the well-established CDM market thereafter. In
addition, the unilateral decision taken by some countries to restrict the
benefits of CDM to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) only, and not to other
developing countries like India, has further reduced the confidence in the
Market mechanism. At present, CDM is facing one of the most severe crises since
its inception. Therefore, the world must discuss new ways to make it a success,
with newer concepts like green credit.
Carbon pricing is a major issue but we should not forget that
it is a function of demand and supply. The world is now ready with respective
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), with the resolve of each
country to work in the direction of green growth. Thus, the signal for the
industry is positive and they should invest more and more for research and
Research and development must also become part of the
business plan, which carries a certain risk, but also generates tremendous
profits for the companies. The real issue is how to make available the critical
technologies for the developing world at an affordable cost. To this end, India
is proposing that part of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) should be used for this
purpose, which will be a win-win proposal for all the stakeholders”.
Ministry of Tourism launches several new initiatives on World Tourism Day
Medical and Wellness Tourism Board constituted, Tourism Vision Document 2030
The Union Ministry of Tourism launched several new initiatives on the
occasion of World Tourism Day today.
The Union Minister of State for Tourism(Independent Charge) ,
Culture (Independent Charge), and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma announced the
constitution of the Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board at a function
in New Delhi today. The Board has been formed to tap the potential and
advantages that India has in the field of medical and wellness tourism. The
Centre of Excellence in Hospitality Education to operate from Hotel Samrat in
New Delhi was also inaugurated at today’s function. Release of Tourism Vision
Document 2030, launch of the revamped website of Ministry of Tourism http://tourism.gov.in/
which has now been made bilingual, release of Audio Visual Presentation ‘
Introduction to India’ and a seminar on the theme of World Tourism Day 2015 “
One Billion Tourist, One Billion Opportunities” were some of the other
highlights of today’s function on the occasion of World Tourism Day.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that low cost
medical facilities are India’s strength and we must take advantage of the same
for the purpose of promoting tourism. It is for this reason that the Government
took the important decision of setting up the Medical and Wellness Tourism
Promotion Board. The Board will have a corpus fund of Rs 2 crore initially, the
Minister disclosed. Dr Mahesh Sharma said that the AYUSH facilities will be
promoted along with regular medical facilities.
Dr Mahesh Sharma also announced that Discover India fares of
Air India. Under the scheme, a tourist can discover India in one or two weeks at
a reasonable travel cost. A Tourist can buy 5 coupons for Rs 32,500 (15 days
validity) or 10 coupons for Rs 60,000 (30 days validity) for exciting Indian
destinations, serviced by Air India & Alliance Air without worrying about ticket
price fluctuation. In another initiative, Air India will introduce Incredible
Air India holiday packages from 1st December, 2015. Air India will also launch
Delhi-San Francisco flight from 2nd December, 2015 onwards which will fly thrice
a week, Dr Mahesh Sharma announced.
Secretary, Tourism, Sh. Vinod Zutshi; CMD, ITDC Sh. Umang Kumar; CMD, Air India,
Sh. Ashwani Lohani and other Senior Officials and members of the Travel Industry
Stakeholders attended the function.
The details of some of the new initiatives launched today are as below:
Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board: The Board will
provide leadership of the Government within a framework of prudent and effective
measures, thereby enabling promotion and positioning of India as a competent and
credible medical and wellness tourism destination. The Board will be chaired by
the Union Tourism Minister and consists of members representing the related
Government Departments, Tourism & Hospitality sector and experts in the Medical,
Wellness and Yoga.
Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management – Centre
of Excellence: The Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management is part
of the HRD division of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.,(ITDC) a PSU
under Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. As part of its contribution towards
supplying trained manpower to the Hospitality Industry, ITDC has envisioned to
set up a Centre of Excellence in Hospitality Education at Hotel Samrat, New
Delhi. The courses offered by AIH&TM are a blend of the rich heritage and
culture of India and hospitality management education system. It provides the
students with a world class contemporary education to have an edge over others
in the field.
Tourism Vision Document 2030: The document goes into the
challenges for the sector and details the way towards Vision 2030. ‘Tourism
vision 2030’ has been commissioned by the Experience India Society and prepared
Launch of Bi-Lingual Website of Ministry of Tourism: The
official website of the Ministry http://tourism.gov.in/ has been revamped and
translated in Hindi. This Administrative website of the Ministry of Tourism
contains the activities and information of all the divisions of the Ministry
including the web based E-Recognition System for recognition of Travel Trade
Service Providers and Approval and Classification of Hotels.
Audio Visual Presentation ‘ Introduction to India’ : The
Indian Association of Tour Operators, the Apex Body of Tourism Industry and
especially promoting inbound tourism to our country has produced a 6 minutes AV
presentation depicting all tourism products of India and a element of human
engagement with the various tourism products . This video presentation is to be
used by IATO in all its promotional activities including Road Shows,
international travel marts and other industry Interactions.
A seminar on the theme of World Tourism Day 2015 “ One
Billion Tourist,One Bilion Opportunities”was held, with Shri Vikram Oberoi,
President Hotel Association of India, Shri Subhash Goyal, President Indian
Association of India and Shri Atul Bhatnagar, Chief Operating Officer of
National Skill Development Corporation as panellists.
Among other important events, a street play was also enacted
today at the Dilli Hatt, INA Market by the Students of Institute of Hotel
Management, PUSA, New Delhi on the theme “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan-Swachh Bharat
Swachh Paryatan”. Speaking on the occasion, the Tourism Minister, Dr Mahesh
Sharma made an appeal to provide clean, safe and hospitable environment to the
tourists. It is our moral responsibility to conduct ourselves properly with the
tourists and especially foreign tourists, he added. The students performed the
play at regular intervals throughout the day to sensitize the tourists and
visitors to Dilli Haat about keeping India clean.
:: National News ::
Centre forms panel to review IAS exam pattern
An expert committee has been formed by the government to
examine various issues related to age relaxation, eligibility, syllabus and
pattern of civil services examination to select IAS and IPS officers.
Based on the report of the committee, further changes in
the civil services exam pattern will be contemplated with the primary
objective of providing a level-playing field to aspirants from diverse
streams of curriculum like mathematics, engineering, medicine or humanities,
Till such time as the recommendations of the committee
are received and the government subsequently takes a decision on the same,
Singh said that the General Studies Paper-II (also known as CSAT) in the
civil services preliminary examination will remain a qualifying paper with
minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33 per cent.
Meanwhile, the government's decision taken last year to
exclude the English portion consisting of 22 marks in the General Studies
Paper-II of the civil services preliminary examination from tabulation also
continues to remain in force, he told PTI here.
The panel has been formed as follow-up to the decision
taken by the government in May this year to form such a committee, said
Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions,
The panel will be headed by former Chhattisgarh-cadre IAS
officer BS Baswan and consist of leading academicians, technocrats and
senior bureaucrats, officials said.
Government proposes panel to decide MPs’ pay and perks
Amid demands that MPs should not be allowed to decide
their salaries, the government has proposed to set up a three-member panel
to recommend pay and perks of lawmakers.
The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has proposed a
three-member independent Emoluments Commission to recommend salaries and
other allowances for the Members of the Parliament. The proposal is part of
the agenda notes prepared for the two-day All India Whips’ Conference to be
held at Visakhapatnam, next week.
The general principles suggested by the Ministry for
determination of salary are: that it should not be so low as to deter
suitable candidates or so high as to make pay the primary attraction for the
It says the salary should reflect the level of
responsibility and those with outside interests should not be deterred from
One of the principles suggested is that those who choose
to make Parliament a full-time career should be adequately rewarded to
reflect their responsibilities.
As per Article 106 of the Constitution, salaries of MPs
are determined by an Act of 1954, amended from time to time.
The last revision in salary of MPs was made in 2010
during UPA II rule and the lawmakers at present get a basic salary of Rs
50,000 per month. Salaries of Members of State Legislatures are decided as
per Article 195 of the Constitution.
Mukesh Ambani tops for 9th year, Flipkart's Bansals debut at 86th slot,
Forbes India rich list
Industrialist Mukesh Ambani has been named India's
richest for ninth year in a row with a net worth of $18.9 billion even as
his wealth dipped by $4.7 billion in a year, while ecommerce giant
Flipkart's founders made their debut on the country's top 100 rich list.
As per Forbes magazines latest India rich list released
on Wednesday night, Ambani was followed by Sun Pharma's Dilip Shanghvi as
the second richest with a net worth of $18 billion, while Wipro's Azim
Premji retained his third place with $15.9 billion.
Flipkart's co-founders Sachin and Binni Bansals made
their debut at 86th position with a net worth of $1.3 billion each. The
combined wealth of India's 100 richest persons remained largely unchanged at
$345 billion, compared with $346 billion in 2014, Forbes said.
The magazine said the Indian economy was estimated to
grow 7 percent this year, but the wealth of many of India's 100 richest has
declined due to the fall in the stock markets and depreciation of the rupee
over the past one year.
As many as 10 of them saw their net worth dip by over $1
billion each in one year, including Lakshmi Mittal, whose net worth dipped
to $4.6 billion (ranked 8th with $11.2 billion). His rank also slipped three
At the same time, many of the billionaires also saw their
net worth rise further. The list saw as many as 12 newcomers including
Flipkart's founders and low-cost airline IndiGo's co-founder Rakesh Gangwal
who has debuted at 70th position with a net worth of $1.6 billion ahead of
his companys IPO.
Gangwal's partner Rahul Bhatia has moved up 12 positions
to 38th with a net worth of $2.4 billion.
The biggest gainer was vaccine maker Serums Cyrus
Poonawalla whose wealth rose from $6.2 billion to $7.9 million, pushing his
rank to the 9th position. Forbes said the minimum threshold for making it to
the list has increased from $1 billion to $1.1 billion in 2015.
In the top ten, Hinduja brothers were ranked 4th with
$15.9 billion, followed by Pallonji Mistry at $14.7 billion, Shiv Nadar
($12. 9 billion), Godrej family ($11.4 billion), Lakshmi Mittal ($11.2
billion), Cyrus Poonawala ($7.9 billion) and Kumar Mangalam Birla ($7.8
:: International News ::
Key Croatia-Serbia border crossing reopens after spat over migrants
Traffic began flowing through the major Serbia-Croatia
border crossing at Bajakovo on Wednesday after a two-days blockade imposed
to stem the flow of migrants across the two ex-Yugoslav republics' frontier,
Croatian state radio reported.
Croatia imposed the blockade for cargo on Monday in
retaliation for Serbia directing a flow of migrants across the border. On
Tuesday Zagreb agreed to allow in trucks with perishable goods but their
drivers refused to budge until all traffic resumed.
EU leaders pledge €1bn to aid Syrian refugees
EU leaders pledged at least 1 billion euros ($1.1
billion) for Syrian refugees in the Middle East and closer cooperation to
stem migrant flows into Europe at a summit described as less tense than
feared after weeks of feuding.
He heard "very substantial and energetic" exchanges
between the Austrian and Hungarian leaders, whose common border was among
those disrupted by chaotic crowds of migrants this summer, but not the
mutual recrimination that has threatened to tear apart the bloc's cherished
passport-free Schengen zone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, criticised by some
eastern neighbours for what they saw as actions that have fuelled the influx
of people trying to reach Germany, voiced satisfaction:
:: Business and Economy ::
RBI draft proposes allowing cos to tap SWFs, pension funds for external debt
In order to encourage overseas funding, the RBI on
Wednesday proposed to allow domestic companies to borrow money from pension
funds, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and insurance funds as part of the ECBs.
The draft framework on External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs),
however, proposed to lower the all-in cost borrowing by 0.50 percent to
ensure that the funds are borrowed from abroad at a reasonable interest
The modification in the ECB guidelines on which the RBI
has invited comments till October 1 are aimed at replacing the ECB policy
with a more rational and liberal framework, keeping in view the evolving
domestic as well as global macroeconomic and financial conditions,
challenges faced in external sector management and the experience gained so
far, the draft guidelines added.
The basic thrust of the revised framework, the RBI said,
is to retain more qualitative parameters for the normal (foreign
currency-denominated) ECB and to provide more liberal dispensation for
long-term borrowings in foreign currency.
According to the draft guidelines, there will only be a
small negative list which include stock market operations, real estate
activity and purchase of land. They will not be allowed to raise resources
through ECBs and rupee-denominated borrowing.
The framework for the rupee-denominated bonds will be
announced separately, it said, adding the real estate investment trust and
Infrastructure Investment Trust will be permitted to raise funds through
The currency risk with regard to the rupee denominated
ECB lies with the lender or investor and hence the modified framework
provides for minimal control for these borrowings.
The RBI proposed to expand the list of recognised ECB
lenders by including overseas regulated financial entities, pension funds,
insurance funds, sovereign wealth funds and similar other long-term
India set to amend Income-Tax Act 1961, w.e.f. April 1, 2001
After due consideration of various aspects of the matter,
the government has decided that with effect from April 1, 2001, the
provisions of Section 115JB of the Income Tax Act, 1961, shall not be
applicable to a foreign company if –
The foreign company is a resident of a country having
DTAA with India and such foreign company does not have a permanent
establishment within the definition of the term in the relevant DTAA
The foreign company is a resident of a country which does
not have a DTAA with India and such foreign company is not required to seek
registration under Section 592 of the Companies Act 1956 or Section 380 of
the Companies Act 2013.
An appropriate amendment to the Income-tax Act in this
regard will be carried out.
Earlier, the issues relating to taxation of foreign
companies, having no permanent establishment in India, have been under
consideration of the Government. In this regard, the Centre has already
clarified the inapplicability of MAT provisions to FIIs/FPIs.
Chinese Taipei has dragged India to WTO
- Chinese Taipei has dragged India to WTOagainst imposition of
anti-dumping duty on imports of USB flash drives or pen drives as known in
- On May 22, India had imposed anti-dumping duty on the imports of 'USB
Flash Drives' from China and Chinese Taipei ($3.06, $3.12 a piece). The duty
is for five years.
- The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO.
Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to
find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation.
- After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the
complainant may request adjudication by a panel.
- USB Flash Drives in the market parlance are also known by various other
names such as pendrive, keychain drives, key drives, USB sticks, flash
sticks, jump sticks, USB keys or memory keys.
- The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the Finance Ministry
had imposed the anti-dumping duty on recommendations of Directorate General
of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties (DGAD).
:: Sports ::
Ganguly looks set to replace Dalmiya as CAB boss
The race to succeed Jagmohan Dalmiya at the helm of
Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) gathered momentum on Wednesday with
Sourav Ganguly and Dalmiya's son Avishek calling on chief minister Mamata
Banerjee at Nabanna.
Sourav and Avishek insisted that it was a courtesy call
to discuss the arrangements for the former BCCI chief's 'shraddh' ceremony
to be held on October 2.
"To discuss something like this three days after his (Dalmiya's)
death is not right. Speculation will be on, someone will run CAB.
It's too early to say anything," Ganguly said after
emerging from the meeting that was also attended by three senior state
There was no official line on the succession issue at
CAB, but according to a well-placed source, the chief minister is well aware
of the factionalism in the CAB, and wants the members to sort out their
differences and elect a candidate who is acceptable to all factions.
Swiss target world soccer chief Blatter in criminal probe
- Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Sepp Blatter,
the head of world soccer body FIFA, on suspicion of criminal mismanagement
and misappropriation of funds, the Swiss attorney general's office said on
- It said Blatter was interrogated after a meeting of FIFA's executive
committee in Zurich, and authorities carried out a search at the
organisation's headquarters on Friday.
- It was the first time that authorities investigating corruption in the
world's most popular sport had pointed the finger directly at Blatter, the
79-year-old Swiss who has run its powerful governing body for the past 17
- He has denied wrongdoing and his U.S. attorney said he was cooperating
with the Swiss probe.
- A source close to FIFA said that as Blatter has not been arrested,
charged or indicted, it would probably be for him to decide whether he stays
in his post until February, when he is due to step down.
Pankaj Advani wins World Billiards Championship
- Pankaj Advani outplayed Peter Gilchrist of Singapore to win the World
Billiards Championship on Sunday.
- This was Advani’s 14th world title.
- Advani left the spectators spellbound with his prolific display as he
downed his opponent by 1168 points after the match ended after the maximum
allotted time of 300 minutes.
- Sunday’s victory also came as sweet revenge for Advani as he had lost
the final of the point format championship to Gilchrist last week.
:: Science & Tech ::
90 percent of the viruses in the soft palate had the reverted form of the
Flu viruses come in many strains, and some are better
equipped than others to spread from person to person.
Scientists from MIT and the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have now discovered that the soft palate --
the soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth -- plays a key role in
viruses' ability to travel through the air from one person to another.
The findings should help scientists better understand how
the flu virus evolves airborne transmissibility and assist them in
monitoring the emergence of strains with potential to cause global
Researchers made the surprising finding while examining
the H1N1 flu strain, which caused a 2009 pandemic that killed more than
Ram Sasi sekharan, one of the study's senior authors, has
previously shown that airborne transmissibility depends on whether a virus'
hem agglutinin (HA) protein can bind to a specific type of receptor on the
surface of human respiratory cells.
Some flu viruses bind better to alpha 2-6 glycan
receptors, which are found primarily in humans and other mammals, while
other viruses are better adapted to alpha 2-3 glycan receptors, found
predominantly in birds.
The 2009 strain was very good at binding to human alpha
2-6 receptors. In the new study, the researchers made four mutations in the
HA molecule of this virus, which made it better suited to bind alpha 2-3
receptors instead of alpha 2-6.
They then used it to infect ferrets, which are often used
to model human influenza infection.
The researchers believed the mutated virus would not
spread, but to their surprise, it traveled through the air just as well as
the original version of the virus. After sequencing the virus' genetic
material, they found that it had
3rd World Tea & Coffee Expo to in Mumbai from October 1
- Enhancing business opportunities in the Tea & Coffee sectors, the World
Tea & Coffee Expo is to be held at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai India
from October 1- 3, 2015.
- This three-day trade fair will provide the perfect environment for the
hot beverage industry to meet face-to-face and develop real business
- The Current edition has 50 plus exhibitors from six countries including
pavilions from Tea Board of India and Sri Lanka Tea Board as also
participation from Coffee Board of India.
- On display are new-age tea and coffee products and brands, vending
solutions, premixes, machineries, retail chains, technologies, accessories,
ingredients, certifications etc