Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 12 March 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 12 March 2016


PM glorifies India's culture at World Cultural festival

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi braved both the environmental controversy and unexpected rains to attend the World Culture Festival, organised by the Art of Living (AoL) Foundation, led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

  • Mr. Modi not only watched the cultural programme seated beside Ravi Shankar, but, in a speech, praised the spiritual guru for taking Indian culture to the world.

  • In an apparent reference to the controversy surrounding the event, taking place on the Yamuna floodplains and its impact on the environment, he said, “If we keep criticising everything we have and do not take pride in our cultural legacy, why should the world look at us?”

  • Earlier in the day, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) accepted the AoL Foundation’s argument that it was a charitable organisation which could not at short notice raise Rs. 5 crore imposed by the NGT.

  • The Tribunal, in an interim direction, ordered the Foundation to pay Rs. 25 lakh before the commencement of the programme and granted three weeks' time to pay the remaining Rs. 4.75 crore.

Government ordered audit of telecom's after CAG report

  • With the CAG report tabled in Parliament on Friday indicating a loss of Rs. 12,489 crore to the exchequer due to understatement of revenues by six telecom operators, including Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, the government has ordered a special audit of telecom companies for three years.

  • Commenting on the findings, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said special audit of the operators’ books would be done for three years from 2009, to check for under-reporting of revenues.

  • Even though in terms of well-established parliamentary procedure, the report will go to the Public Accounts Committee.

  • In conclusion, the audit found that even after 16 years of the introduction of the revenue share regime, the correctness and completeness of revenue flowing into the consolidated Fund of India could not be assured by DoT.

  • The CAG report said the financial impact on LF and SUC due to understatement of gross revenue stood at Rs. 1,507.25 crore for Reliance Communications, Rs. 1,357.68 crore for Tata Teleservices, Rs. 1,066.95 crore for Airtel, Rs. 749.85 crore for Vodafone, Rs. 423.26 crore for Idea and Rs. 107.61 crore for Aircel.

  • On the other hand, the two industry bodies representing telecom operators in a joint statement said that matters relating to interpretation of ‘Gross Revenue/Adjusted Gross Revenue’ of telecom companies for the purpose of calculation of licence fees are under litigation in various judicial forums including the TDSAT, High Courts and the Supreme Court.

  • The telecom operators had earlier opposed auditing of their books by the CAG. However, a Supreme Court ruling in favour of the auditor in 2014 forced the companies to share the information.

  • The report observed non-compliance with the licence conditions by netting off of discounts/waivers granted to post-paid subscribers and under-reporting of revenue from infrastructure sharing with other telecom operators, among others.

Satyameva Jayate word use is not in violation of State Emblem of India Act

  • The Bombay High Court sought responses from actor Aamir Khan and Star TV to a public interest litigation plea by an activist that objects to the use of the phrase Satyameva Jayate , the name of their popular TV programme, as it is a part of the emblem of India.

  • Responding to the petition, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its affidavit said the use of the phrase ‘Satyameva Jayate’ was not in violation of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition and Improper Use) Act and State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules.

  • The Act and Rules prohibit improper use of the State Emblem of India as a whole. There is no provision which prohibits the use of its part like Satyameva Jayate , the lion, the bull, the horse and so on.

  • Hence the use of the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in a TV programme does not violate any provision of the Act and Rules,” the affidavit said.

  • In his petition, activist Manoranjan Roy said Satyameva Jayate is a part of the Emblem of India, and their use for the name of a TV programme violates laws governing its use.

Aadhaar Bill passed by lower house (Register and Login to read Full News..) 

SC says states are not bound to provide reservation in promotion (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: International ::

Senator's objection to F-16 deal did not find success

  • An attempt by Republican Senator Rand Paul to stall the U.S. move to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan hit a procedural roadblock in the Senate, but lawmakers expressed strong disapproval of the deal.

  • The State Department had last month approved the sale to Pakistan.

  • Mr. Paul’s move to disrupt the deal found support from 24 Senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats, in a rare development.

  • The Congress has never overturned administration’s decisions on foreign military sales. In this case, even those who supported the deal pledged to oppose its funding through U.S. assistance.

  • They have called for demonstrable “behavioural changes” from Pakistan in terms of its support for terrorism and its dealings with India.

  • “I can’t in good conscience look away as America crumbles at home and politicians tax us to send the money to corrupt and duplicitous regimes abroad,” Mr. Paul said.

Syu Kyi's aide Htin Kyaw moves closer to become first civilian leader in Myanmar (Register and Login to read Full News..)

:: India and World ::

  • India's quest for permanent seat in UNSC face challenge from Mexico

  • India’s quest for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), faced a new challenge with Mexico coming out in opposition to India’s campaign.

  • “We don’t support India’s campaign for permanent seat at the UNSC. We do not think adding more permanent members in the Security Council is the solution. More veto power-wielding permanent members will mean more paralysis of the U.N,” Foreign Minister of Mexico said.

  • Mexican foreign minsiter indicated that India has taken a maximalist position by demanding a permanent membership at the UNSC with veto powers as the permanent members of the United Nations are yet to give up their control over the United Nations.

  • Interestingly, the Mexican opposition to India’s quest at the UNSC came two days after the United Nations held the “Informal Plenary meeting of the Inter-governmental Negotiations on equitable representation” with India strongly reiterating its demand for reform of the UNSC.

  • In the Plenary held on Wednesday, India’s Permanent Representative, Syed Akbaruddin tried to convince those countries who oppose new members with veto power in the UNSC arguing that the issue of the veto can be reviewed later whereas the democratisation of the U.N. cannot wait any longer.

:: Business and Economy ::

IIP data again increases call for rate cut

  • Industrial output shrank for the third straight month, contracting by 1.5 per cent in January 2016.

  • The data prompted industry groups to make fresh calls for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut interest rates at its monetary policy review slated for April 5.

  • The decline compared with the 2.8 per cent growth in industrial output in January 2015.

  • According to the data released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) on Friday, the year-on-year growth was (-)1.5 per cent in January.

  • The drop in output was due to various factors, including a huge contraction in the capital goods sector.

  • Manufacturing sector output contracted by (-) 2.8 per cent, capital goods shrunk by (-)20.4 per cent and consumer non-durables fell by (-) 3.1 per cent.

  • Ten out of 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector registered negative growth. Electrical machinery and apparatus recorded the maximum negative growth of (-)50.3 per cent.

  • The 1.5 per cent fall in industrial output this January was against 2.8 per cent growth in January 2015 and (-)1.2 per cent in December 2015 (revised from -1.3 per cent earlier).

  • The Budget has tried to address tax related issues for manufacturing and we are hopeful that they would yield results.

  • But we would like to see further rate reduction in the forthcoming monetary policy (of the RBI) that can stimulate demand and investments in the economy to support manufacturing growth.

  • With the Budget sticking to the fiscal consolidation roadmap by targeting to limit the fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2016-17, the government had claimed that it had done its job well by maintaining fiscal discipline to ensure macro-economic stability.

  • This in turn has provided some space for monetary policy to be loosened up.

  • Fiscal deficit for the current fiscal is projected at 3.9 per cent. Experts are expecting a minimum 25 basis points repo rate cut by the RBI, most probably earlier than April, to perk up growth.

  • Global financial market volatility, a potential further deterioration in exports and strain in bank and corporate balance sheets could weigh on India's growth prospects, the IMF had said.

  • In January 2016, growth in mining output was 1.2 per cent while that of electricity was 6.6 per cent, basic goods (1.8 per cent), intermediate goods (2.7 per cent) and consumer durables (5.8 per cent).

  • The factors being blamed for the fall in industrial output include the Chennai floods and poor revival of investment.

  • Experts are expecting a minimum 25 basis points repo rate cut by the RBI, most probably earlier than April

Depending upon monsoon and reform growth rate could be close to 8 % in 2016-17 (Register and Login to read Full News..)

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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