Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 August 2018
Election commission meets political parties to bring in electoral reforms
- The Election Commission of India, comprising Chief Election Commissioner
Sh O P Rawat, Election Commissioners Sh Sunil Arora and Sh Ashok Lavasa,
today held in depth interactive session with all the recognised national and
state political parties on a broad range of issues concerning various
aspects pertaining to Elections.
- The Commission considers Political Parties as the most important
stakeholders in its endeavor to strengthen electoral democracy. The Chief
Election Commissioner further observed that the Commission is uniquely
privileged and honored to enjoy trust and confidence of people, media and
all political parties because the Commission has an open door policy
treating all with respect, impartiality and fairness.
- The Chief Election Commissioner mentioned about the challenges faced by
all the democracies globally in view of the new media and advancements in
information technology. He said the Commission is taking initiatives to
prevent such interference. The Commission sought suggestions and support of
political parties to comprehensively meet these and other challenges for
ensuring free and fair elections.
- Some political parties requested the Commission to fix a certain
percentage of VVPAT slips-counting to enhance the trust in EVM. Commission
assured them that it is being looked into with the expert inputs of Indian
- Commission also informed that any candidate may approach the Returning
Officer concerned for the specific count of VVPAT of a Polling Station under
the law already available.
Centre to bring in mandatory registration of drones from December
- Drones, their operators and pilots will have to be mandatorily
registered on aviation regulator DGCA’s online portal, effective December 1.
- The use of remotely piloted aircraft, a kind of drone, is allowed for
taking photographs, conducting surveys such as for laying of pipelines and
agricultural purposes and surveillance, as per the regulations on remotely
piloted aircraft system unveiled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on
- The rules bar use of drones for delivery of items. They can be deployed
for spraying of pesticides and delivery of relief material during a natural
disaster only on a case-by-case basis.
- Users will have to go online to seek a unique identification number for
each drone as well as an operator’s permit licence.They will have to provide
details of flight path to be undertaken for every flight.
- However, nano drones are exempt from all these pre-requisites.
- Drones are barred from being flown near airports, international border,
coastline, Parliament, Secretariat complex in State capitals, military
installations and eco sensitive zones.
- The DGCA will also be connected to district police officers and will
inform them about drone flights cleared by it,” Secretary, Civil Aviation
Ministry, R.N. Choubey told a press conference. Drone users are also advised
to keep the local police informed of flights planned by them.
Petroleum ministry launches online portal for capacity booking of GAIL
- The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development &
Entrepreneurship ShriDharmendraPradhan today launched an online portal for
enabling easy, efficient and transparent booking of Common carrier capacity
for natural gas transmission services under GAIL’s pipelines. It would be a
first step to facilitate gas trading on hub or exchange traded platform in
- He said that the policy reforms in last 4 years have helped in
increasing the production and import of gas multi-fold in the country. The
Government is focusing on the clean fuel, and for this purpose the gas
import contracts have been renegotiated, bio-CNG is being promoted, and PNG
supplies will soon reach new Geographical Areas.
- The portal should enable the new entities to utilize the GAIL’s
infrastructure in procuring the gas in a cost-effective manner. The Minister
said that the portal will act as a milestone in expansion of gas marketing,
without human interface, through digital means.
- The online portal www.gailonline,com is the first of its kind in the
natural gas sector of the country, to provide gas consumers the facility to
register pipeline capacity bookings online and endeavours to continue the
practice of serving on first come-first served basis.
- He said that the company has been providing third party access to
pipelines since 2004 and over 100 consumers, small and big, are routinely
being serviced at any time, for the last few years.
Centre affirms Indian exports to get doubled by 2025
- Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation today chaired a
meeting of different exports stakeholders and Commerce Ministry officers to
discuss a strategy for revitalizing India’s exports and doubling the
country’s exports by 2025.
- The Minister said that this is necessary in view of challenges like
uncertainty of global trade, rigid approach of banks affecting availability
of credit, high logistics cost and productivity standards and qualities.
- India had acceded to WTO’s TFA (Trade Facilitation Agreement) in April,
2016 and action plan containing specific activities to further ease out the
bottlenecks to trade has been prepared. To facilitate transparency through
Ease of Doing Business and IT initiatives DGFT and SEZ have been online
integrated with customs ICEGATE and mandatory documents required for exports
and imports have been reduced to 3 each.
- The Commerce Minister said that apart from traditional markets India
must also look at boosting trade with smaller countries and explore new
territories like Africa which has 54 countries but accounts for only 8 % of
exports from India.
- The Minister exhorted exporters to not miss the opportunity presented by
China’s consumer market and make the most of the world’s mega import expo
being held in China in November, 2018.
IRAN wants UN to act against U.S pressurisation
- Iran on Monday demanded the UN’s top court to suspend U.S.
nuclear-linked sanctions against Tehran, accusing Washington of plotting its
- The Islamic Republic launched a suit at the International Court of
Justice over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose the
sanctions that had been lifted in a 2015 accord.
- Mr. Trump says the sanctions are needed to ensure Iran never builds a
nuclear bomb. But Iran’s representative Mohsen Mohebi branded them “naked
economic aggression”. His team of lawyers told the court in The Hague the
measures were already devastating Iran’s economy and threatening the welfare
of its citizens.
- The sanctions target financial transactions and imports of raw
materials, cars and aircraft among other things. A second wave of punitive
measures is due to hit Iran in early November, targeting its vital energy
sector including oil exports.
- Iran’s lawyers said the sanctions would cause it “irreparable
prejudice”. They urged the court to order the suspension of the sanctions
pending a definitive ruling.
China demands better ties with India
- China on Monday called India its “natural partner” in the Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI) and advocated better ties between New Delhi and Islamabad
within the Eurasian framework.
- At a media conference on the BRI, Zhang Jun, China’s assistant minister
of foreign affairs threaded India and China’s deep bonds established during
their far history with recent diplomatic initiatives, including the Wuhan
summit in April between Prime Minister NarendraModi and Chinese President Xi
- Citing the summit and the follow up meetings between Mr. Xi and Mr.Modi,
as benchmarks of the shift in the relationship, Mr. Zhang said: “I think we
can all recall that since April, it has been only three months, President Xi
and Prime Minister Modi met in Wuhan, in Qingdao, and in Johannesburg in
- Refusing to accept India’s permanent exclusion from the BRI in the post-Wuhan
scenario, Mr. Zhang said that “historically India was an important country
on the ancient Silk Road, and it is fair to say that India was a natural
partner on the ancient and (is one) in the Belt and Road Initiative.”
- Separately, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday welcomed India and
Pakistan’s joint participation in a Eurasian counterterrorism military
exercise under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
India’s first biofuel flight takes off
- A historic flight powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel
based on patented technology of CSIR-IIP Dehradun was flagged off today from
Dehradun airport by Uttarakhand CM ShriTrivendra Singh Rawat. The Spicejet
flight, featuring a latest generation Q400 aircraft powered by ,was received
at Delhi airport by Union Ministers.
- Dr Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Minister, S&T and Vice President, CSIR on the
occasion said that it is a historic day and the biofuel technology is going
to be a game changer as the Biojet fuel is greenhouse gas neutral, carbon
neutral, reduces air pollution and to cap it ,it would bring down import
bill on crude oil.“Commercialization of biofuel promises large-scale
employment avenues both in formal and informal sector”, said Dr.Vardhan.
- The genesis of this development goes back several years to an
Indo-Canadian consortium project from 2010 to 2013 involving CSIR-IIP,
Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, IIT Kanpur and IISc Bangalore, in which
research was directed towards the production of Bio-aviation fuel by
CSIR-IIP from jatropha oil and its evaluation under various conditions,
culminating in a detailed engine test by Pratt and Whitney in Canada that
showed fitness for purpose.
- With this maiden flight India joins the exclusive club of nations using
biofuel in aviation.The use of bio jet fuel, apart from reducing greenhouse
gas emissions by about 15 percent and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions by over
99 percent, is expected to provide indigenous jet fuel supply security,
possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up,
superior engine performance and reduced maintenance cost for the airline
Committee of administrators chairman gives BCCI 90days to form new body
- Committee of Administrators (CoA) chairman VinodRai said here on Monday
the BCCI had 90 days to comply with the Supreme Court directions. He added
he would hand over the administration once the new body was in place.
- Speaking on the uniformity of adopting the new constitution, Rai said,
“The constitution is binding on State associations. The State association
constitution should mirror the BCCI one.”
- “We (CoA) are happy with the final order of the Supreme Court. There is
a timeline to implement the order and that has been reached after hearing
all the stakeholders involved.
- Rai also said guidelines would be posted on the BCCI website regarding
the recruitment of players in the new Ranji Trophy teams.
PV Sindhu creates history
- She started her Asian Games singles journey very shakily a few days ago
but now P.V. Sindhu is just a step away from gold and glory.She is the first
Indian to enter an Asiad final.
- Sindhu overcame a mid-match lapse of concentration to defeat Japan’s
Akane Yamaguchi 21-17, 15-21, 21-10 while SainaNehwal was left confused by
Tai Tzu’s end-game strategy and lost 17-21, 14-21 in the semifinals.
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