Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 4 NOVEMBER 2018
Cracker sales soars even after supreme court order
• Notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court, Deepavali
might continue to be noisy in the city as fire cracker sales have soared by 30
per cent this week.
• With just four days left for the festival of lights to dawn, Dhoolpet
traders who expected a fall in sales said the judgment came too late for it to
have an effect immediately.
• Hyderabad city police have not issued any directions to residential
associations to enforce the SC verdict that restricts the use of firecrackers
between 8 and 10 pm on Deepavali day. Hyderabad police commissionerate, however,
had issued instructions to general public requesting them to follow the SC
• The traders said most of them had also taken permission from respective
police commissionerates to sell crackers. According to the SC judgment only
licensed traders should sell fire crackers. “With elections round the corner,
Deepavali will be grand affair this year. So our sales have also improved
compared to last year,” said Devendra Dalal, Joint Secretary of Telangana
firecracker sellers’ association which has 120 licensed members.
• In several residential areas, Deepavali preparations have not included a
bid to restrict the use of crackers. “We expected the police officers to visit
localities to create awareness among residents. But this has not happened and
this Deepavali too will go on as usual with people bursting crackers when they
please,” said Ajay Gupta, secretary of a welfare association.
Kashmir struck by heavy snowfall
• Kashmir witnessed an early spell of snowfall this year on Saturday, forcing
closure of all three major highways connecting the Valley with rest of the
country. Air traffic was also stopped.
• “Moderate to heavy snowfall of 1.5 feet was reported in Kashmir Valley,
with highest snow formation in upper reaches and passes like Zojila. It’s the
fourth time in the past two decades that Kashmir witnessed snowfall in
November,” said Sonam Lotus, who heads the meteorological department in
• The three main highways — Jammu-Srinagar, Poonch-Srinagar and Kargil-Srinagar
— were closed, cutting off the valley from the rest of India. The
Leh-Manali-Zanskar route was also closed due to the snowfall. Over 100 stranded
passengers were rescued from the Mughal Road, connecting the Pir Panjal valley
• Air traffic was also suspended after snow accumulated on the runway at the
airport in capital Srinagar. Seven Srinagar-bound flights were
cancelled.Authorities have set up emergency control rooms across the valley “to
meet any eventuality”.
• Srinagar recorded a day temperature of 6.3° Celsius, a dip of 13° from
normal, sparking a cold wave. “There will be gradual improvement in the weather
from Sunday,” said Mr. Lotus.
• Snowfall also affected power supply in Srinagar. Chief Engineer of the
Power Development Department Hashmat Qazi said the snowfall resulted in trees,
with thick foliage, “coming down heavily on electrical lines, damaging most of
the 33KV lines.”
CCI to hold national conference on public procurement & competition law
• A ‘National Conference on Public Procurement & Competition Law’ is being
organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in Delhi on 5th November,
2018 with a view to scale up Competition Advocacy and reach out to important
stakeholders in public procurement ecosystem.
• The National Conference is being organised in association with Indian
Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank under the aegis of Ministry
of Corporate Affairs.
• Ahead of the National Conference, CCI Chairperson Shri Sudhir Mital said
that the National Conference is a unique initiative of the Commission which
provides a platform to various stakeholders to engage in an active discussion
with the policymakers and the industry on various aspects of competition law and
• He further added that infusing competition and checking anti-competitive
conduct in public procurement is a priority for the CCI.
• The National Conference will be attended by senior policy makers from
Central Government, various State Governments, participants from the public
sector enterprises, industry, legal and finance professionals, corporate
lawyers, academics, and other relevant stakeholders.
• The first session will be on Infusing Competition in Public Procurement and
will be chaired by Shri Karan Avtar Singh, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab, and
the second session will be on bid-igging, cartels and leniency and will be
chaired by Shri Augustine Peter, Member, CCI. The open house sessions will be
followed up by a wrap up session by Smt. Smita Jhingran, Secretary, CCI.
National Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business Development held
• Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik and Minister of State
for Culture and Environment and Forest Dr. Mahesh Sharma addressed the inaugural
session of the two day ‘National Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business
Development in Ayurveda’ today.
• This seminar is being organised by Ministry of AYUSH in association with
NITI Aayog at Dr. Ambedkar International centre, New Delhi, with the aim of
encouraging entrepreneurs and Ayurveda stakeholders towards businesses
opportunities in the sector.
• Addressing a large gathering Shri Naik said that forming institutions and
giving them funds is not enough to develop Ayurveda industry. He said that in
the last four years the Ministry of AYUSH has taken several initiatives to
promote Ayurveda industry and striving to link it with Prime Minister Narender
Modi’s revolutionary programs like ‘Start up India’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Invest in
India’ and ‘Digital India’.
• The AYUSH Minister informed that the ancient Scriptures of Ayurveda have at
least 1.25 lakhs formulations which are collected in Traditional knowledge
• Secretary AYUSH vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said that the Ministry has taken up
the challenge of increasing the market share of Ayurveda to three fold by the
year 2022. He said, “We are working with Ministry of MSME to organize 50
entrepreneurship development programs in next one year in different cities
covering all the states across the country.
• The deliberations in the seminar are expected to educate the young
entrepreneurs about the various possibilities of business development in
Ayurveda sector, how to use the technology and the ease of business being
facilitated by the Government for promoting their business in the field of
Militants continue to create tensions near Myanmar borders
• While the intensity of Manipur’s decades-old insurgency has been contained,
with security forces ensuring there are no insurgent camps left in the State,
militants continue to take advantage of the hilly terrain and porous border with
Myanmar to carry out attacks with IEDs and sophisticated weapons, army officials
• With the forces conducting intelligence based operations that have limited
the militants’ operational ability, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and
ambushes have become the insurgents’ mainstay and pose the biggest challenges
for the Army and the Assam Rifles.
• There have been 17 IED blasts so far this year, compared with 44 explosions
in 2017. At the same time, 30 IEDs and 112 weapons were recovered this year,
compared with 29 IEDs and 98 weapons in 2017.
• Maj. Gen. Mishra said the terrain posed challenges, as it is mostly hilly
and thickly forested and added, “Wherever there is insurgency, there are a
number of over ground workers and there is also an element of agitation which is
• Gen. Rawat observed that as part of the government’s Act East policy
Manipur assumed greater significance. It becomes a key centre as the “Asian
Highway 1 will link India to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
through Moreh,” he added.
• “Insurgent groups have moved deeper into Myanmar” following the strikes, an
Army officer, who did not wish to be identified, observed. Myanmar has its
limitations in acting and joint cooperation between the two armies has been
limited so far, he added.
U.S ready to open new deal with Iran
• U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested he is open to a new comprehensive
deal with Iran, saying that till then the toughest-ever sanctions on the West
Asian country that kick off on Monday would continue.
• Iran reached an agreement with the six world powers including the U.S. and
the EU in 2015, which curtailed its nuclear programme in return for lifting of
the international economic sanctions. In May, Mr. Trump announced the U.S.’s
withdrawal from what he described as “the horrible, one-sided” nuclear deal.
• In his statement, Mr. Trump called on the regime to abandon its nuclear
ambitions, change its “destructive behaviour”, respect the rights of its people,
and return in good faith to the negotiating table.
• “On Monday, November 5, the termination of U.S. participation in the Iran
nuclear deal will be complete. The last set of sanctions lifted under the
terrible nuclear deal will come back into force, including powerful sanctions on
Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, and sanctions targeting
transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and sanctioned Iranian banks,” the
• Later, a senior State Department official told reporters that that the U.S.
was ready for talks with Iran.
• “Secretary Pompeo has been very clear that we have an ear open to what is
possible. We very much want to begin work on a new and better deal to replace
the insufficient Iran nuclear deal and our campaign of maximum economic pressure
is a critical tactic to achieve that goal,” Special Representative for Iran
Brian Hook said.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
GSAT 11 returns for relaunch in December
• GSAT-11, the heaviest Indian communication satellite built to date, for
faster Internet connectivity, is back once again at the Guiana Space Centre for
an early December launch.
• It returns to the South American port for the second time in six months
after it was taken back to Bengaluru in April for inspections.
• K. Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and
Secretary, Department of Space, confirmed on Wednesday that the 5,700 kg
spacecraft was shipped out of Bengaluru last week and has reached the European
• Arianespace, ISRO’s long-time European launch services contractor, has
paired GSAT-11 with South Korea’s weather satellite GEO-Kompsat 2A. The two are
slated to go to space on the same Ariane 5 launch vehicle, numbered VA246.
• Arianespace's CEO Stephane Israel tweeted a pictorial welcome on October 29
local time as the satellite arrived at the port halfway across the globe by a
special Russian Antonov cargo flight.