Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 5 DECEMBER 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 5 DECEMBER 2018


Supreme court to set up more specialised courts for cases involving lawmakers

 To ensure effective trial of pending criminal cases involving former and sitting lawmakers in Bihar and Kerala, the Supreme Court Tuesday directed setting up of special designated courts in each district of these two States to try such cases.

 Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, said there were 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.

 The top court fixed the sequence for cases to be tried in these courts and said cases against sitting or former MPs or MLAs involving offences punishable with life imprisonment or death sentence, shall be taken as a first priority.

 A Bench of Chief Justice RanjanGogoi and Justices Sanjay KishanKaul and K. M. Joseph said creating designated courts in each districts would be a more effective step than concentrating all such cases in one special court.

 A report compiled by the amicus curiae revealed that 2,324 of the cases were against sitting MPs and MLAs.The report was submitted in a case initiated by lawyer and BJP leader AshwiniUpadhyay, who has sought a lifetime ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases, besides setting up of special courts to try such cases.

Study claims disabilities act implementation slow in states

 A study conducted by the Disability Rights India Foundation (DRIF) on the implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, across 24 States, has revealed that more than half have not notified the State rules, despite a significant lapse of time.

 Ten States including Bihar, Chandigarh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Telengana, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have notified the State rules, the survey said.

 The study, conducted in collaboration with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD), said the Act, passed in December 2016, should have been notified by all States within six months.

 The study, which concentrated on the States’ administrative machinery with respect to the Act, found that 79.2% of the States had not constituted the funds for implementation of the RPWD Act. Among the five States to have constituted the funds, Tamil Nadu has allocated Rs. 10 crore while Himachal Pradesh has allocated Rs. 5 crore.

 Though 62.5% of the States have appointed Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities, “the progress has not been substantial. Only three States have constituted Advisory Committees, comprising of experts, to assist the State Commissioners” the study noted.

 Out of the 24 States and Union Territories that responded to the study, Madhya Pradesh was ranked the highest, followed by Odisha, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.
 While 58.3% of the States have not notified Special Courts in the districts for trying offences under the Act, 87.5% have not appointed a Special Public Prosecutors as mandated by the law, the study said.


Vice president claims India can become global aviation hub in future

  •  The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that India has the potential to become global aviation hub for MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) in view of the growing aviation business, huge pool of engineering talent and low labour costs.
  •  Calling aviation sector as the backbone of the global transport system, Shri Naidu said that was indeed an important driver of the economy and the most vital sector for linking businesses, bringing people together and promoting tourism worldwide. Growth in aviation sector would yield positive results in promoting connectivity and creating jobs, he added.
  •  Shri Naidu said that the government has taken a series of measures to improve infrastructure and regional air connectivity in the country and added that schemes such as UDAN would develop regional connectivity and promote economically viable flights on regional routes.
  •  The Vice President called upon State Governments to partner with the Centre in a true ‘Team India’ spirit for building a new prosperous, inclusive New India by creating the right ecosystem for the growth of various sectors. The political differences between parties must end with elections and focus should be given to governance after assuming power, he added.
  •  The Vice President said that increase in public investments in infrastructure projects of aviation and other areas were contributing in overall development of economy. Indian economy which is growing at a steady pace and the systemic governance reforms are helping to create a more inclusive society, he added.
  •  India also has the potential to become a global hub for MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) in view of the growing aviation business, huge pool of engineering talent and low labour costs,he said.

Centre expects receipts to exceed budgeted target this year

  •  Demonetisation was beneficial in terms of increasing the tax base as well as increasing direct tax collections, Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Sushil Chandra said on Tuesday.
  •  The government expects to exceed the budgeted target for direct tax collections this year, he added.
  •  “The gross rate of direct tax collections is 16.5% and net growth is 14.5%, which in itself shows that demonetisaton has really helped in widening the tax base, increasing the tax revenue, and also in deepening the tax base, which means that people who filed returns of Rs. 10 lakh about two years ago, are now reporting more now, and even the people filing returns of more than Rs. 1 crore are filing much more this year,” Mr. Chandra told reporters on the sidelines of a CII conference on tax.
  •  “We will definitely achieve the budget estimate for direct tax collections for the year,” he added. “The target is Rs. 11.5 lakh crore and we are very hopeful that we will achieve this target. We have already covered 48% of the total budget estimate, and there will not be problem in achieving the rest.”
  •  Mr. Chandra added that India had begun to receive information on an automatic basis from 70 countries regarding foreign assets and bank accounts held by Indians. “If anybody has not shown foreign assets or a foreign bank account in their I-T returns, the department will take action against them,” he said.

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India-U.S to sort out sanctions waiver

  •   India and the U.S. are planning to “sort out” issues around a U.S. sanctions waiver related to India’s purchase of the S-400 Triumf missile defence system from Russia, U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis told the press at the Pentagon on Monday.
  •  Asked if he expects India to get a waiver, Mr.Mattis said, “Yeah, you know, India has spent many, many years in its non-aligned status. It’s drawn a lot of weapons from Russia. We have a growing strategic confluence of interests with our country and theirs and we’ll sort out all those issues here today, and in the days ahead.”
  •  However, the President may make an exemption to CAATSA as per the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY19 — Mr.Mattis was pivotal in pushing for this part of the legislation, citing India and other countries as examples of those with historic ties to Russia now wanting to purchase U.S. defence equipment.
  •  Ms.Sitharaman was given an extended honour cordon (guard) at the Pentagon on Monday where she and other Indian officials visited for talks with Mr.Mattis and his team. Ms.Sitharaman and Mr.Mattis spoke briefly on bilateral ties and Mr.Mattis took a few questions from the press.
  •  Regarding the White House reaching out to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan about supporting the peace process in Afghanistan, Mr.Mattis said, “It’s time for everyone to get onboard, support the United Nations, support Prime Minister Modi, support President Ghani and all those who are trying to maintain peace and make for a better world here.”

India – UAE sign currency swap deal worth Rs.3500cr.

  •  India and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday signed a currency swap agreement to boost investment and enable direct trade without using dollars or other international currencies.
  •  The swap is for 200 crore dirhams or Rs. 3,500 crore ($496 million), depending on which central bank requests the amount, an official statement said.
  •  "The bilateral currency swap agreement between India and the UAE is expected to reduce the dependency on hard currencies like the U.S dollar," the statement said, adding that the two central banks had agreed the deal.
  •  The agreement was signed after the 12th India-UAE joint commission meeting co-chaired by External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj and the UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.
  •  Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at around $52 billion in 2017, according to figures from the Indian embassy in the UAE. In 2015, China's central bank extended a currency swap agreement with the UAE Central bank worth $5.54 billion.
  •  Swaraj and Abdullah also jointly inaugurated a digital interactive museum showcasing the life, works and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and the founder of modern UAE ShaikhZayed.
  •  The Gandhi-Zayed Digital Museum, which will promote peace, tolerance and sustainability, is part of the celebrations by the two countries to mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and centenary celebrations of the birth of ShaikhZayed.


Number of patents by India up in 2017 : WIPO

  •  The number of patents granted by India shot up by 50% in 2017, keeping up a trend of steep increases, according to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
  •  The patents granted by India increased from 8,248 in 2016 to 12,387 last year, the WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report released in Geneva on Monday said.
  •  Last year’s number was more than double the 6,022 patents granted in 2015, according to WIPO statistics.Of the patents granted last year, 1,712 went to entities and individuals based in India, and 10,675 to foreigners, according to the WIPO report.
  •  The WIPO said that the steep increase in the number was driven by patents granted to foreigners, which accounted for 85% of the total increase.
  •  The number of patents given to domestic entities has also shown an increasing trend: In 2016, 1,115 went to domestic individuals or entities and 7,133 to foreigners, and in 2015, 822 were granted to applicants in India and 5,200 to foreigners, the report said.


Luka Modric and Hegerberg wins BallonD’or award

  •  Luka Modric saw off competition from France’s World Cup stars as the Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder won the Ballon d’Or to end a 10-year stranglehold on the award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
  •  Modric, 33, was announced as the winner of the prestigious prize in a glitzy ceremony here on Monday.
  •  Norway striker Ada Hegerberg was rewarded for her prolific form with Champions League winner Lyon as she took the first ever women’s Ballon d’Or prize

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