Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 August 2019
Supreme court to hear plea against regressive measures in
A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will hear on
Tuesday for the first time a petition highlighting certain “regressive
measures” adopted by the government before the abrogation of Article 370, by
which special rights and privileges accorded to the people of Jammu and
Kashmir were scrapped through a Presidential Order on August 5.
The government, within hours of announcing the notification of
the Presidential Order on August 5, tabled the Bill to reorganise the State of
Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The
Bill was successfully passed in Parliament.
The Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra will hear the petition
filed by activist TehseenPoonawalla, who has not expressed an opinion on the
amendment to Article 370 but objects to measures adopted by the government,
including the snapping of communication and restrictions imposed on media Jammu
He has sought the setting up of a judicial commission to enquire
into the government action and also the release of leaders including former
chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
“The inhabitants of J&K are suffering on account of unwarranted
imposition of curfew and/or restrictions under Section 144,” he said.
CVC points out requests pending sanction for prosecution
against public officials
Sanction for the prosecution of over 80 public servants,
including four IAS officials, under the Prevention of Corruption Act is
awaited from various government departments for the past over four months.
Two cases are pending since 2013.
According to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), 47 such
requests were pending for more than four months as on June 30. The maximum of
seven requests were with the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), while
five were with the Uttar Pradesh government.
In one case, the request for sanction to prosecute the then
Secretary of Health, B.L. Agarwal, was made to the DoPT in February 2013. The
same month, another request was moved against the then Joint Director Parmod
Singh and two others of the Chhattisgarh government, in connection with a case
registered in 2010.
According to the recently released CVC's annual report, sanction
for prosecution in 108 cases was given by the government departments last year.
It included recommendation for major penalty proceedings in 508
cases and minor penalty proceedings in 151 cases as its first-stage advice. The
CVC advised major penalty for 101 cases and minor penalty for 76 cases as
National exchanges claim Indian taxes making capital market
As part of their attempts to lower the trading costs in the
Indian stock markets - which is among the highest globally - the Association
of National Exchanges Members of India (ANMI) has again urged finance
minister NirmalaSitharaman to withdraw long term capital gains tax and also
taxation of dividends in the hands of the investors.
Representatives of the broking body who met the finance minister
last week, told the policy makers that while India is the only country to levy a
tax on equity trading in the form of securities transaction tax (STT), dividends
currently are taxed thrice in the form of corporate tax, dividend distribution
tax and finally at the investor level.
The capital market participants highlighted the fact that while
a tax is levied on all equity market transactions, India also taxes business
income and the capital gains on securities, which, combined with the triple
taxation on dividends, make the Indian capital market quite unattractive
Incidentally, the broking body has requested the government to
take “urgent steps to boost investor sentiment” especially given the overall
weak sentiment among investor community, especially foreign portfolio investors
“Long term capital gain tax and taxation on dividends in the
hands of Indian investors should be withdrawn,” stated ANMI in its memorandum to
Import of textile machinery on a high note
Import of textile machinery and accessories in 2018-2019
grew 24% compared to the previous year, Jugal Kishore Pansari, president of
Indian Textile Accessories and Machinery Manufacturers’ Association, said
here on Friday.
Total import of textile machinery and accessories last financial
year was worth $1,165 million. The highest imports were of digital printing
machinery ($430.20 million), accounting for 37% of the total imports. Weaving
machines worth $135.58 million and spinning machinery and accessories worth
$96.12 million were imported last fiscal. Import of spinning products and
machinery grew 41.85%.
“Digital printing is a happening segment in textiles. The new
machines are versatile and fast and save on water. Hence, the demand is high for
these. Several textile engineering multinational companies have started
operations in India and they import parts and accessories,” Mr.Pansari said.
The data shows the potential available for the Indian textile
engineering sector. There is an opportunity for the machinery and spares
manufacturers to meet the domestic needs, he added.
“Today, the Indian textile engineering industry is operating at
about 70% capacity utilisation, serving 65% of the textile sector’s demand,” he
said. The industry should improve on the technology front, he added.
UN to probe North Korean cyber attacks in various countries
UN experts say they are investigating at least 35 instances
in 17 countries of North Koreans using cyberattacks to illegally raise money
for weapons of mass destruction programs — and they are calling for
sanctions against ships providing gasoline and diesel to the country.
Last week, The Associated Press quoted a summary of a report
from the experts which said that North Korea illegally acquired as much as $2
billion from its increasingly sophisticated cyber activities against financial
institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The experts said they are investigating the reported attacks as
attempted violations of UN sanctions, which the panel monitors.
The report cites three main ways that North Korean cyber hackers
operate. One is attacks through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial
Telecommunication or SWIFT system used to transfer money between banks, “with
bank employee computers and infrastructure accessed to send fraudulent messages
and destroy evidence.”
Experts stressed that implementing these increasingly
sophisticated attacks “is low risk and high yield,” often requiring just a
laptop computer and access to the internet.
The report to the Security Council gives details on some of the
North Korean cyberattacks as well as the country’s successful efforts to evade
sanctions on coal exports in addition to imports of refined petroleum products
and luxury items including Mercedes Benz S-600 cars.
Afghanistan rejects foreign interference during peace talks
Afghanistan's President has rejected foreign interference as
the United States and the Taliban appear to be closing in on a peace deal
without the Afghan government at the table.
President Ashraf Ghani spoke during the Muslim holiday Eid Al
Adha and as US and Taliban negotiators continue their work in the Gulf nation of
Qatar, where the insurgents have a political office.
Speaking after the Eid prayers, Ghani insisted that next month's
presidential election is essential so that Afghanistan's leader will have a
powerful mandate to decide the country's future after years of war.
US envoy ZalmayKhalilzad is seeking a peace deal by Sept. 1,
weeks before the vote. The two sides are expected to agree on the withdrawal of
some 20,000 US and NATO troops in return for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan
would not be a base for other extremist groups.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Researchers find out reason for shift in rainfall pattern
For the first time, researchers from the Indian Institute of
Technology (IIT) Bombay have found that even a change in irrigation policy
has the potential to shift monsoon rainfall and intensify extreme rainfall
in India through its feedback to atmosphere.
They have further found the reason behind the shift in the
summer monsoon rainfall towards northwestern India and intensification of
extreme rainfall over central India during the month of September.
It became possible to understand what causes the monsoon to
shift and the role of irrigation as the researchers developed a module of
land-surface model that takes into account the actual soil irrigation and
agriculture pattern seen in India.
The researchers found that as a result of excess irrigation over
northern India, the summer monsoon rainfall in September shifts towards the
northwestern part of the country. There is also intensification of extreme
rainfall over central India during September.
Land-surface processes including irrigation affect the heat
fluxes — temperature related and evapotranspiration. Modified heat fluxes along
with changes in atmosphere moisture content and distribution result in a shift
in rainfall towards northwestern part of the country and increased extreme
rainfall over central India during September.
“We need more detailed irrigation data for southern India to
perform much better analysis of land-surface feedback of human-natural systems,”
an expert says.
Aishwaryapissay wins motorsport worldcup
Bengaluru’s AishwaryaPissay made history, winning the
women’s category of the FIM World Cup with a fourth-place finish in the
Hungarian Baja, at Varpalota (Hungary) on Sunday. She also finished second
in the FIM Junior category.
She had won the first round in Dubai, and was placed 3rd
(Portugal), 5th (Spain) and 4th (Hungary) in her subsequent outings. She
finished with an overall tally of 65 points, four ahead of Portugal’s Rita
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