Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 09 January 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 09 January 2016


PM Modi will visit Pathankot airbase on 9th Jan

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Pathankot airbase in Punjab on Saturday, exactly a week after a terrorist attack at the site, as formal sanitisation operations ended there on Friday.

  • PMO sources confirmed that Mr. Modi will be leaving for Pathankot on Saturday morning.

  • PM Modi will do aerial survey of the border area nearby. Punjab has seen two major terrorist attack in last few months in Gurdaspur and Pathankot.

CFTRI is teaming up with hospitals to conduct human clinical trials

  • In what may signal a new approach to verification of the health benefits of food, the Mysuru- based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) is teaming up with hospitals to conduct “human clinical trials” on an “anti-obesity” cooking oil it has developed.

  • Usually, only new drugs developed internationally but set to be sold in India are subject to such trials.

  • The objective is to test if the oil has side- effects and the extent to which it can help contain obesity.

  • The four organisations involved in the trial, which is set to begin later this year, are JSS Medical College, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences and Manipal University.

  • The oil has been chemically altered; less of it is stored as fat and more burned of to provide energy, compared to conventional cooking oils.

  • Vegetable oils are usually rich in triglycerides, a class of fats that, over the years, has been associated with heart disease and higher chances of stroke.

  • The digestive system breaks them down for energy but it reappears again and is stored in the body as fat.

  • The oil developed by the institute replaces triglycerides with diglycerides — a chemical cousin — that are believed to provide as much energy but is not stored as fat.

SC asked central govt and banks to provide reservation in promotion to SC/ST

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre and public sector banking authorities to consider providing reservation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes employees in promotion to officers ranks at all levels.

  • The grievance of the employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category is that there is negligible representation of employees belonging to their community in the officers category at all levels.

  • Keeping in view the statistical figures which have been placed on record showing their representation in officer ranks, it would be open to the authorities, namely, the state and the banks to consider whether their demand is justified, and it is feasible to provide reservation to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category in pro- motion in the officers category and if so, upto which scale/level

  • The banks contended that there was no rule for reservation in promotion in Class-A (Class-I) to the post having a basic salary of more than Rs.5,700 per month.

  • They argued that a 1997 office memorandum merely provided for concessions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes category staff in promotion.

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Tamil issue still remains a key to politics in SriLanka

  • Both Mr. Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have, on a number of occasions in the recent months, spoken of the need for finding a meaningful an- swer to the question.

  • Minorities, both Tamils and Muslims, are keen that the government makes substantial progress during the course of 2016.

  • Pointing out that enough work has been done on the Tamil question in the last 25 years, R. Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) chief and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, says “I do not want the prob- lem to be dragged end- lessly. I expect SIRISENA’S there must be FIRST YEAR a fair and reasonable Focus on resolution by September.”

  • In fact, devolution is linked to the larger issue concerning Tamils. Despite the stipulation in the 13th Amendment, the non-transfer of powers on land and police to the Provinces has been bothering Tamil groups and parties.

  • Last month, in a talk, Mr Wickremesinghe too identified devolution as the first issue to be tackled as part of the Constitution-making process.

  • While indicating his preference to retain the unitary character of the existing Constitution, he said the “impending task” was to identify the additional powers to be devolved to the Provincial Councils.

  • As part of the implementation of a resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council inOctober last year on reconciliation and accountability, the government would have to put in place mechanisms to, as Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera put it the other day, “deal with the past.”

  • Judicial and administrative mechanisms are being thought of and the government has plannedof initiate discussions shortly.

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Demand for loans from commercial banks increasing

  • Demand for commercial bank loans are showing signs of picking up after registering single digit growth for almost a year, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

  • Bankers attributed the revival in loan growth to some projects that got stuck due to various reasons such as lack of environmental clearance now showing signs of revival due to the government’s initiatives.

  • Besides, there is also increasing demand for work- ing capital loans for projects which have been completed.

  • According to latest data re- leased by the RBI, the two fortnights of December saw loan growth of close to Rs.1.5 lakh crore, taking the overall credit growth of banks to 11.1 per cent year-on-year compared to 10.1 per cent during the same period last year.

  • During the fortnight ended 25 December, loans grew by Rs.50,000 crore and in the previous fortnight, it grew by Rs.98,180 crore.

  • In November, credit growth was less than Rs.60,000 crore while in October outstanding loans in the system fell by Rs.26,000 crore.

  • Deposits grew by 10.9per cent, year-on-year till the fortnight ended December 25.

  • The year 2014 was the worst in terms of credit growth as it hit a two-decade low of 10.1 per cent. For the financial year 2014-15, credit growth was below 10 per cent.

  • The central bank has start- ed reducing the key policy rate or the repo rate from the start of 2015 in a move to raise loan demand. During the year, RBI reduced the repo rate by 125 bps to 6.75 per cent.

  • Banks have also started to reduce their lending rate — though at a slower pace — which came down by about 70 bps. Some of the large banks had base rate at around 9.3-9.4 per cent.

  • Base rate — the benchmark rate to which all loan rates are linked — of banks was 10 per cent and above, a year ago.

Premji becomes most generous Indian third year in a row

  • Azim Premji, 70, chairman of Wipro, is the most generous Indian of the year for the third time in a row with donations worth Rs. 27,514 crore to the education sector, says Hurun India Philanthropy List 2015.

  • The top five contributors on the list belonged to the information technology indus- try. Mr. Premji is followed by Nandan Nilekani and wife, Rohini Nilekani, with dona- tions of Rs. 2,404 crore, while Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy stood third with donations of Rs. 1,322 crore.

  • The Azim Premji foundation works in the education sector with operations in eight States and over 3,50,000 schools.

  • The top five are also the biggest wealth creators on the Hurun India Rich List.

  • The richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries (RIL), stood sixth on the philanthropy list with donations of Rs. 345 crore.

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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