Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 04 February 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 04 February 2016

:: National ::

Home minister send dual message to Pak

  • Sending out a dual message to Pakistan, the government said that it would continue to engage with it to ensure it makes progress on the Pathankot investigation, but also made it clear that the Sharif government would have to show “sincerity” as it is from their territory that most attacks come from.

  • Most of the terror attacks emanate from Pakistan. It has to show some sincerity and take action against terrorists operating from its soil,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said at a counter-terror conference.

  • “Our government will stand by Pakistan if it takes decisive action against terrorists and their organisations,” he added.

  • Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said that despite the attacks, India would continue to engage Pakistan at both the Foreign Secretary and National Security Adviser levels.

  • The statements by the Foreign Secretary and the Home Minister, as well as those made by President Pranab Mukherjee and NSA Ajit Doval indicate the government’s next steps with Pakistan are still under discussion, with no clear signs on whether India will go ahead with Foreign Secretary-level talks that were called of last month.

Maharastra designs plan to tackle the threat of Islamic State

  • Faced with the challenges of both home-grown extremism and the global Islamic State (IS) threat, Maharashtra has rolled out a deradicalisation programme for the minority community.

  • The programme includes opening vyayam shalas in minority areas, making National Cadet Corps (NCC), Bharat Scouts and Guides (BS&G) compulsory in minority schools, and setting up an independent media outlet to deliver ‘mainstream thoughts and values’ to the minority youth in the State.

  • The Union Home Ministry had asked three States to draw up a comprehensive counter- strategy in the wake of at- tempts by international terrorist outfits to propagate jihadi ideologies.

  • The State Home Department has rolled out a 50-point socio-economic strategy with the aim of ‘bringing youth of the minority community into the main- stream’ and making coordinated efforts and policies in 13 sectors, including education, sports, urban planning, law and order, skill development, women and child, social justice, and health.

Bharat Biotech announced developing world’s first Zika vaccine

  • Vaccines manufacturer Bharat Biotech announced a breakthrough in developing the world’s first Zika vaccine.

  • The Hyderabad-based company has submitted to the government two vaccine candidates: one inactivated and one recombinant.

  • It said pre-clinical studies would be concluded in the next five months, and then the process for regulatory approval would start.

  • An inactivated vaccine consists of the disease-causing microbe killed with chemicals, heat, or radiation. This is more stable and safer than live vaccines.

  • A recombinant vaccine is produced through the recombinant DNA technology. This involves inserting the DNA encoding an antigen (such as a bacterial surface protein) that stimulates an “immune response.

Govt wants to provide DBT for social sector schemes as well (Register and Login to read Full News..)

Instructions on OROP implementation issued (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: International ::

Zika virus can be transmitted sexually

  • A person in Texas has been infected with the Zika virus after having sex with an ill person who had returned from South America.

  • It’s the first case of the virus being transmitted in the U.S. during the current outbreak of Zika, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas.

  • There was report of a Colorado researcher who picked up the virus in Africa and apparently spread it to his wife back home in 2008, and it was found in one man’s semen in Tahiti.

  • The CDC has already recommended that pregnant women postpone trips to more than two dozen countries with Zika outbreaks, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • In the epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, the main villain identified so far is called Aedes aegypti a species of mosquito that spreads other tropical diseases, including chikungunya and dengue fever.

  • It is found in the southern United States, though no mosquito-borne transmission has been reported in the continental United States to date.

India and Thailand for freedom of navigation and connectivity in Southeast Asian region (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: Business and economy ::

Govt to come up with measures to increase exports

  • India’s exports, since December, 2014, have been in negative territory. While the primary reason has been the slowdown in the global economy, declining crude oil prices coupled with low commodity prices have added to the woes of the exports sector.

  • However, domestic challenges like slowdown in manufacturing, high logistics cost, increasing transaction cost and product profile of our exports have also contributed in no less measure.

  • Our competitors like Vietnam and Bangladesh have shown positive exports growth in the last 6 months or so asking us to do some introspection.

  • The recent incentives by the government in the form of revision of MEIS benefits and its expansion, announcement of Interest Equalisation Scheme on Export Credit along with the benefits on all Industry Rates of Duty Drawback did give some cushion in such difficult times.

  • However, Chinese slowdown and devaluation of Yuan has come as yet another jolt for the sector.

  • In the upcoming Union Budget, we expect that the inverted duty structure in respect of various items may be addressed as it not only affects exports but also the manufacturing sector and adversely impacts Make in India and the import substitution strategy.

  • The exemption from service tax on ex- port may see the light of the day.The biggest challenge affecting MSME exports is on the marketing front.

  • The total marketing support extended by Department of Commerce under MAI and MDA is insufficient and therefore a Export Development Fund (EDF) should be created with a corpus of 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent of total export value so that sizeable money is available to pro- mote MSME exports.

  • In view of current global trend, we expect country’s exports to reach $260-$270 billion in 2015-16.

  • All exporters may also be given Interest Equalisation Benefit (IES) as cost of credit is the same across sectors.

  • With all these happening, we expect the exports sector to see some green shoots coming out only from the second quarter of the FY 2016-17 expecting to end the financial year with an export figure of $310-15 billion.

Coal linkages to steel, aluminium, cement sectors only via auction

  • Coal linkages to non-regulated sectors such as steel/sponge iron, cement and aluminium will be provided only through auctions.

  • This was decided by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) which met under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  • The auction of coal linkages will be transparent and creates a level-playing field, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.

  • The auction ensures all market participants have a fair chance to secure the coal linkage, irrespective of their size. It attempts to ensure an optimal allocation of coal across user industries and geographies.

  • As per the CCEA decision, all allocations of linkages/ Letter of Assurance (LoAs) for non-regulated sector (but excluding fertilizer (urea) sector), including their cap- tive power plants, shall from now on be auction-based.

  • State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Singareni Collieries (SCCL) will put up 25 per cent of their incremental production during 2015-16 over 2014-15 for auction. The

  • Supreme Court in August and September 2014 had declared 204 coal mines/blocks allocated since 1993 as illegal on the grounds that the proce- dure followed was arbitrary.

  • Pursuant to this judgment, e- auction of Schedule II and Schedule III Coal Mines wasconducted. The same philosophy of non-discretionary al- location is being extended for the coal linkages as well. This would require CIL to allocate linkages through a market- based mechanism.

  • The union cabinet allowed the railways ministry to form joint venture (JV) companies with the state governments to mobilize resources for under- taking various rail infrastructure projects in states.

  • The JV can also form project-specific SPVs with equity holding by other shareholders like banks, ports, public sector undertakings, mining companies etc.

  • The JV exercise would ensure greater participation of states in implementation of railway projects in terms of financial participation and decision-making process.

  • This will facilitate in faster statutory approvals and land acquisition. Besides transporting people, various cement, steel and power plants would get the necessary rail link for transportation of their raw material and finished products.

Good future markets necessary for farmers to get fair price (Register and Login to read Full News..)

Click Here to Register for Full News

Click Here for Archive

Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for IAS Exam