Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 05 March 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 05 March 2016


Four States and one UT to go on poll from April 4

  • The Election Commission of India announced the schedule for Assembly elections in four States and one Union Territory which will be conducted in multiple phases from April 4 to May 16.

  • Elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be held in a single phase on May 16, said Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi.

  • In West Bengal, owing to security issues, polling will be held in six phases, the first phase on April 4 and 11, and the rest on April 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5. Assam will go to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11.

  • Asked whether action would be taken if any reference was made on the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to remit the life sentence of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts, Mr. Zaidi said: “As and when the reference comes, the Commission will take an appropriate view to ensure that our voters are not influenced.”

  • The votes will be counted on May 19. The model code of conduct immediately comes into effect.

  • The electronic voting machines, for the first time, will carry a NOTA (none of the above) symbol created by the National School of Design.

  • Photographs of the candidates will also be featured alongside the voting buttons. Identification of voters through voter card at polling booths has been made mandatory, but if required, use of additional documents will be allowed.

Supreme Court looking for ways to make legal profession better

  • The Supreme Court decided to set up a Constitution Bench to evolve a filtering mechanism to “once and for all” clean up the legal profession.

  • I also looks to prevent anti-social elements from becoming lawyers, who resort to “fighting, agitating, stone-throwing and abuse” instead of arguing in court.

  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India, said it was time to raise the benchmark for the profession.

Former Lok Sabha speaker P.A.Sangma passes away

  • Purno Agitok Sangma, a politician from the Northeast, died of a heart attack here on Friday at the age of 68.

  • The Lok Sabha, of which he was Speaker two decades ago, was adjourned for the day.

  • He was elected to the Lower House nine times. Mr. Sangma, who was born in 1947 at Chapahati in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, earned an MA in International Relations from Dibrugarh University in Assam and studied law.

Manoj Kumar will get prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award (Register and Login to read Full News..)

PM says government is working to improve infrastructure (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: International ::

China says that US responsible for South China Sea problems

  • China has slammed the ‘Pivot to Asia’ doctrine of the United States, blaming it for the growing tensions the South China Sea, where a trilateral exercise involving New Delhi, Washington, and Tokyo is scheduled later this year.

  • The war of words between China and the U.S. escalated when Fu Ying, the spokesperson for the National People’s Conference (NPC), countered the U.S. assertion that China was responsible for the militarisation of the South China Sea.

  • The Chinese official stressed, that the “Pivot to Asia was an important decision,” which enabled Washington to deploy “as many as 70 per cent of its naval force in the Asia-Pacific”.

  • China claims sovereignty over most of South China Sea, a position that is contested by several countries including Vietnam, Philippines and Taiwan.

  • It has recently accelerated conversion of some of the disputed reefs into artificial islands, and positioned surface-to-air missiles at Woody Island in the Paracel island chain.

  • The spokesperson stressed that China was ready to play the role of a regional security provider. Ms. Fu said that China was ready to seek joint development of the Nansha islands, “but that is on the prerequisite of not giving up our sovereignty”.

  • Ms. Fu’s remarks follow assertions by Admiral Harry B. Harris during the course of the Raisina dialogue in New Delhi, where, in a veiled reference to China, he asserted that, “While some countries seek to bully smaller nations through intimidation and coercion, I note with admiration India’s example of peaceful resolution of disputes with your neighbours in the waters of the Indian Ocean.”

  • The U.S. Admiral also revealed that that the forthcoming Malabar naval exercise comprising India, U.S. and Japan would be held in the north Philippine Sea, not far from the South China Sea.

  • In Beijing, China addressed Admiral Harris’ assertions with restraint: “We have no objection to relevant countries’ normal cooperation, but we believe that relevant cooperation should not be targeted at a third party.

Zika virus kills cells that form key brain tissue

  • In what may be the first lab evidence of the potency of the Zika virus, researchers in the United States have found that it severely damages a type of neural stem cell that gives rise to the brain’s cerebral cortex.

  • The findings are significant given that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is set to decide, within the next few months, whether the Zika virus — historically known to be relatively benign — is indeed wholly responsible for the outbreak of microcephaly, or deformed skulls, in newborns in Brazil and other parts of South America.

  • The team of researchers, led by Guoli Ming and Hongjun Song of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hengli Tang of Florida State University report in the current edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell that they saw the virus’ destruction, on neuronal cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

  • Several other questions however remain. For instance, why are the symptoms in adults so mild? How is the virus entering the nervous system of the developing foetus?

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:: India and World ::

Defence Minister says no joint patrol with US right now

  • Days after a top U.S. Admiral expressed keenness in co-ordinated patrols between India and U.S,, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that there was no scope for such patrols at this point of time.

  • “As of now India has not taken part in joint patrols but we do participate in joint exercises. So the issue of joint patrols at this time does not arise,” Mr. Parrikar told a press conference.

  • U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to visit India in April during which the agreements are expected to be discussed.

  • The Defence Ministry had not returned Rs. 11,000 crore from the budget but had indeed saved the amount by utilising funds locked in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) account.

  • There is an account for paying the U.S. for defence procurements under the FMS route. The amount is paid to the U.S. government which further pays the companies concerned.

  • Last year, India paid Rs. 6,000 crore for committed liabilities from this account.


Application window for the new Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) scheme will be March 8-14

  • The government announced that the application window for the third tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) scheme will be March 8-14 and the bonds issued on March 29.

  • The first tranche of the scheme, unveiled in November 2015, attracted 62,169 applications for 915.9 kg of gold worth Rs. 246.2 crore. This subdued performance prompted the government to tweak the scheme’s rules to make it easier to buy the bonds.

  • The second tranche, which opened in January 2016, met with greater success, attracting 3.16 lakh applications for 2,790 kg of gold worth Rs.726 crore.

  • The Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue third tranche of SGB. Applications for the bond will be accepted from March 8, 2016 to March 14, 2016. The Bonds will be issued on March 29, 2016.

  • The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd. (SHCIL) and designated Post Offices,” according to a statement from the government on Friday.

  • The announcement of the third tranche of the scheme comes at a time when gold prices are rallying.

  • The government’s plan behind the SGB scheme is to encourage those who use gold as a store of value to instead invest in the gold bonds as opposed to the physical yellow metal itself.

  • The idea, among others, is to reduce India’s substantial gold imports, which were at $2.9 billion in January 2016, up 85 per cent over the same month of the previous year.

  • The bonds, issued by the Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the government, have a tenor of eight years with an exit option from the fifth year onwards.

  • The maximum quantity which can be subscribed is 500 grams per person per financial year and the interest rate on the bonds are set at 2.75 per cent per annum, payable on a half-yearly basis.

  • The maximum quantity which can be subscribed is 500 grams per person

Tax exemptions for capital gains investment in venture capital

  • To help start-ups mobilise capital at affordable rates during the initial stages, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will soon take up with the Finance Ministry a proposal to grant Capital Gains Tax (CGT) exemption for those investing their capital gains in regulated/notified Venture Capital (VC) and angel funds.

  • The budget had proposed CGT exemption for persons investing their capital gains only in regulated / notified Fund-of-Funds (FOF).

  • FOFs, as per the DIPP’s Start-up Action Plan, are professionally managed funds that will not invest directly in start-ups, but contribute to the capital of VCs registered with capital markets regulator SEBI.

  • These VCs, in turn, provide the needed early stage funding for start-ups. CGT is the tax-on-profit made by a person through sale of a capital asset (such as an investment or real-estate).

  • DIPP would hold a meeting with the Finance Ministry to take up the issue of allowing SEBI-registered VCs and angel funds to also be ‘notified’ for the purpose of CGT exemption.

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:: Sports ::

Patna Pirates reached finals of pro kabaddi league

  • Patna Pirates was third time lucky, thrashing Puneri Paltan 40-21 in the semifinals and reaching the title clash of the third edition of the ProKabaddi League.

  • Its reward would be a face-off against defending champion U Mumba, which crushed Bengal Warriors 41-29 to complete its own hat-trick — this one of reaching the final in every edition so far.

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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