Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 9 NOVEMBER 2018
Supreme court seeks explanation from EC & enforcement directorate on use of
black money in elections
• The Supreme Court has sought responses from the government on a petition
seeking expeditious action and conduct of investigation into the use of black
money or excess money in the election process by candidates and parties.
• The petition, filed through advocates T. Sudhakar and Sravan Kumar, said a
proposal made since 1992 to the government to make bribery in elections a
cognisable offence was pending till date. Successive governments have not moved
• The petition wants to make bribery a cognisable offence in time for the
coming Assembly elections in Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan
and Lok Sabha elections.
• The petition asked the court to direct the ED, the CBDT and appropriate
State authorities to take “stringent action on seized money, liquor, narcotics
and drugs in all elections from 2014 till date and fasten liability.”
• The petition wants the “total net assets and tax revenue/income &
expenditure which is available to be appropriated by legislators, to be
disclosed on a per vote basis so as to sensitise voters to the financial might
of each vote.”
• The petition blamed the Election Commission and other authorities for not
disqualifying, between 2014-18, even a single candidate for spending excess to
the limit fixed by the panel.
Cabinet approves lay down procedures for sale of enemy shares
• The cabinet has given in principal for sale of enemy shares under the
Custody of Ministry of Home Affairs/ Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI),
as per sub-section 1 of section 8A of the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
• Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has been authorized
under the provisions of sub-section 7 of section 8A of the Enemy Property Act,
1968, to sell the same.
• Before initiation of sale of any Enemy Shares, the CEPI shall certify that
the sale of the Enemy Shares is not in contravention of any judgment, decree or
order of any court, tribunal or other authority or any law for the time being in
force and can be disposed off by the Government.
• The advisors/ intermediaries like Merchant Bankers, Legal Adviser, Selling
Brokers etc. as may be required for the disposal of movable enemy property, will
be appointed by DIPAM through an open tender/limited tender process. An
Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) will guide the process of sale.
• The decision will lead to monetization of movable enemy property lying
dormant for decades. Sale proceeds from this may be used for development and
social welfare programmes.
• According to amendment, as in sub-section 7 of section 8A of the Enemy
Property Act, 1968, Central Government may direct that disposal of enemy
property shall be made by any other authority or Ministry or Department instead
CCI finds no violations of norms by e-commerce giants
• Fair trade watchdog CCI has concluded that the business practices of
Flipkart and Amazon are not in violation of competition norms and rejected
allegations of abuse of market dominance made by a grouping of online vendors.
'• Amid concerns expressed in various quarters about alleged unfair business
ways in the fast-growing online market place, the CCI, in its ruling, also made
it clear that any intervention in the evolving e-commerce market place needs to
be “carefully crafted” to ensure that innovations are not stifled.
• The latest ruling from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has come
on a complaint filed by the All India Online Vendors Association, a grouping of
over 2,000 sellers on various e-commerce market places.
• The allegations were made against Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd., which is into
wholesale trading/distribution of books, mobiles, computers and related
accessories, and Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd.
• The latter is engaged in e-commerce marketplace business under the brand
name Flipkart.com, as per details available with the CCI.
Centre to lease out six airports through PPP mode
• The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave an “in principle” approval for
operating, managing and developing six non-metro airports — Ahmedabad, Jaipur,
Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru — under the Public Private
• At present, airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Cochin are
managed under the PPP model. The PPP mode has helped create world-class
airports, while also helping the AAI increase its revenues, IT and Law Minister
Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
• This will be done through the Public Private Partnership Appraisal
Committee (PPPAC). Additionally, a committee headed by NITI Aayog CEO with the
Aviation Secretary, Economic Affairs Secretary and Expenditure Secretary as its
members, has been set up to decide on any issue falling beyond the scope of the
• The airport sector is a top contender among infrastructure sectors in terms
of international interest. “International operators and investors prefer
brownfield airport expansion opportunities with having more than 3-4 million
passenger capacity,” an official statement said
• . The PPP airports in India have been ranked among the top 5 in their
respective categories by the Airports Council International (ACI) in terms of
Airport Service Quality (ASQ).
• While these PPP experiments have helped create world class airports, it has
also helped AAI in enhancing its revenues and focusing on developing airports
and Air Navigation infrastructure in the rest of the country.
Rohingya issue not discussed in national level meeting with Myanmar
• India did not discuss the deportation of the Rohingya with Myanmar at a
meeting held last month.
• The annual 22nd National-Level Meeting between India and Myanmar was held
on October 25-26. An official of the Ministry of External Affairs, present at
the meeting, confirmed that the issue was not on the agenda. “The issue was not
discussed as a mechanism exists to deport illegal migrants,” the official said.
• On multiple occasions, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has raised the illegal
migration of Rohingya at public rallies and events, stating they would use
diplomatic channels and ask the Myanmar government to take them back.
• Though the exact number of Rohingya in India is not known, as per the
Centre’s estimate, there are around 40,000 of them here, including 5,700 in
Jammu. Only 16,000 are said to be registered with the United Nations.
• The Rohingya came in during 2012-13 when thousands were displaced by a wave
of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
• “The Rohingya issue was not discussed at the meeting as a mechanism exists
to deport illegal migrants. Recently, seven Rohingya, who were caught in Assam
in 2012, were sent to Myanmar after the latter verified their credentials,” an
India to support afghan reconciliation & peace efforts
• In a significant departure from India’s stand on engaging the Taliban, the
government announced it would participate at a “non-official” level. Two former
senior diplomats will attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held
in Russia on Friday.
• The talks, known as the “Moscow format” will include a “high-level”
delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan’s “High Peace
Council”, along with representatives of 12 countries, and will mark the first
time an Indian delegation has been present at the table with the Taliban
representatives based in Doha.
• “India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that
will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity
to the country. India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be
Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the
Government of Afghanistan,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, adding that
“Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level.”
• Analysts see the Modi government’s decision as a significant marker in the
Afghan dialogue process, given that India has in the past declined to
participate in the Moscow format with the Taliban unless the Afghan government
participated. A Russian proposal to hold the talks on September 4 had to be
cancelled after the U.S. pulled out, and the Ghani government opposed them.
• Apart from the Taliban leadership based in Doha and the HPC, the Russian
government has invited delegations from India, Pakistan, the U.S., China, Iran
and five Central Asian Republics.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Scientists develop bionic device using 3D print of cyanobacteris to produce
• Scientists, including those of Indian origin, have created a bionic device
that generates green power by 3D-printing clusters of cyanobacteria on an
ordinary white button mushroom.
• The research by the Stevens Institute of Technology in the U.S. is part of
a broader effort to better improve our understanding of cells biological
machinery and how to use them to fabricate new technologies and useful systems
for defence, healthcare and the environment.
• The researchers took an ordinary white button mushroom from a grocery store
and made it bionic, supercharging it with clusters of cyanobacteria that create
electricity and swirls of graphene nanoribbons that can collect the current.
• Cyanobacteria’s ability to produce electricity is well known. However,
researchers have been limited in using these microbes in bioengineered systems
because cyanobacteria do not survive long on artificial bio-compatible surfaces.
• “We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an
artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different
microbiological kingdoms,” said Sudeep Joshi, a postdoctoral fellow.
India wins gold in Asian air gun championship
• Saurabh Chaudhary added yet another feather to his cap as he beat Arjun
Singh Cheema by 2.1 points to win the junior men’s air pistol gold in the 11th
Asian air gun championship here on Thursday.
• It has been a phenomenal season for Saurabh, who qualified in third place
with 576.The 16-year-old won the Asian Games gold, World Championship junior
gold and the Youth Olympics gold before this.
• There was no similar fairy tale for Manu Bhaker, who had also won the Youth
Olympics gold apart from the Commonwealth Games gold and World Cup gold medals
for both the juniors and women. Manu finished fourth.
• However, along with Abhidnya Patil who made the final and was placed
seventh and Neha, Manu saw the team to the silver medal, 10 points behind the