Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 18 January 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 18 January 2016


Alliance with the BJP to continue- Jammu and Kashmir

  • A meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the first since the demise of PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, witnessed no opposition to the alliance with the BJP and ended with a pledge to carry forward the late Mufti’s political vision on J&K and Pakistan initiatives.

  • Setting neither timeline nor preconditions for continuation of the PDP-BJP government in the State

The Someswara temple

  • The Someswara temple is nature's bounty for sure, tucked away in the backwaters of the Srisailamdam construction on which began in 1960 and 21 longy ears to be opened.

  • The dam was constructed across the Krishna river onthe border of Mahbubnagarand Kurnool district and is the second largest capacity, working hydro-electric station in India.

  • The temple of Someswara (Lord Shiva), believed to have been originally constructed in the 7thcentury. But the present temple structure is on a relocated site.

  • Of the temple per se, was built during the time of the Chalukyas, following the ‘Vesara’ style that is considered unique to what is now Telangana.

  • The main temple, with nine Shiva lingas was practically dismantled and relocated around the late 70s to a higher location because it faced submersion in the backwaters

  • The exercise to relocate the massive structure was modelled after the way in which the Abu Simpel temple was dismantled and re-constructed at a height of 600 to800 metres because it faced submersion following the construction of the Aswandam across the River Nile in Egypt.

  • The Abu Simbel temple was originally constructed in 1257 BC around the time of the Pharoah Ramses in Nubia on the West Bank of the River Nile and re-located once the dam came in place.

Endosulfan victims await relief promised

  • All are waiting in vain for the promised help from the State government, which included a detailed medical survey and a financial package ensuring proper rehabilitation of affected families but nothing happened so far.

  • Six years have passed since the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the State government to conduct a health survey and economically empower the poor victims of the killer pesticide, once sprayed indiscriminately in the mango orchards of Muthalamada

  • The order issued on December 31, 2010, directed the government to pay at least Rs. 5 lakh to the close relatives of those who died because of the aerial spraying of the banned pesticide.

  • An equal mount was promised to those who became permanently bedridden and suffered from severe deformities.

  • The NHRC also ordered payment of at least Rs. 3 lakh to all those who turned living victims of the killer pesticide.

  • Now the families of the living victims are demanding an expert study at Muthalamada, Elavanchery, Kozhinjampara, Velanthavalam, Vadakarapathi, Eruthempathy, Nenmara, and Nelliyampathygrama panchayats.

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After IAEA confirmation sanctions removed from Iran

  • After IAEA confirmation on nuclear stock, Sanctions were removed from Iran.

  • Lifting of sanctions allowed Iran to rejoin the international economy. Although Iran kept it low key because of multiple disappointment and broken promises it has faced in past few years.

  • The end to the sanctions is a success for the government of President Hassan Rouhani, but comes at a cost for Iran’s ruling system.

  • Since the deal was signed last July, Iran has had to put into storage more than 12,000 centrifuges, ship out almost its entire stockpile of enriched uranium and remove the core of its heavy- water reactor.

  • Commentators have estimated a windfall of USD 100-150 billion for Tehran due to removal of sanctions.

  • The removal of sanctions will tremendously help India’s plans in Iran, which are many and include the Chabahar port, an Indian Oil petrochemical plant and the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

  • India’s oil imports from Iran have been restricted by the sanctions and the recent forward movement on Chabahar port was accommodated within the exemption granted for projects exclusively serving commerce with Afghanistan.

  • The U.S. removed a wide range of sanctions against Iran after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Tehran had met its commitments to roll back its nuclear programme, under an agreement with China, France, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. and Germany on July 14 2015

  • The U.S. has only removed secondary sanctions that restrict the dealings of other countries with Iran. Primary sanctions that bar U.S. citizens and companies from business with Iran will remain

  • However, the removal of restrictions on its oil, petrochemicals, banking, naturalgas and port sectors will hugely benefit Iran and allow it to re-enter the global market.

  • Iran will be able to access the huge amount of cash it has accumulated overseas from restricted oil sales during the sanctions. Most of this money is sitting in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

  • Apart from Iranian oil, India will also benefit from theremoval of restrictions onpayments to Iranian companies that the sanctions had imposed. India reportedly owes Iran$6.5 billion for crude oil purchases, the payment of which has so far been held up due to the sanctions.

  • U.S. allies in the region fear that the U.S. focus onthe nuclear threat distracts theUnited States from the array ofother threats that Iran poses tothe region.

  • The U.S. will have to reassure Saudi and UAE andothers that that is not the case

  • The U.S. had also made itclear that it continued to treat Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, and punitive actions prescribed for promoting terrorism, human rights violations and missile tests would continue.


India to liberalise visa norms to China

  • India is all set to overhaul its security cooperation agreement with China and further liberalise visa norms for the neighbouring country

  • If the agreement comes through, China will deport Indians accused of terrorist acts and operating in Chinese territory after its agencies conduct an independent probe

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2005 between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security, People’s Republic of China, is being revisited to expand its scope

  • The new agreement will also factor in contemporary global threats like the Islamic State, as many Chinese nationals are also learnt to have joined the extremist outfit, especially those from the Uighurregion who are fighting for a separate state

  • Even though India includedChina in the list of countries which have been extended thefacility of electronic touristvisa on arrival, the neighboring country has pressed forlifting restrictions on conference and research visas aswell.

  • However, China is yet torespond to India’s demand tooffer a similar arrangement for its citizens. Despite opposition from the intelligenceagencies against extending e-visa facility for the Chinese,Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his maiden visit tothe country in May 2015, hadannounced it

  • China is among the top fivenations which have expressedinterest in doing business inIndia. According to Ministryof Home Affairs data, eightChinese companies were given the green signal to startbusiness operations in Indiaunder the Make in Indiapolicy.


Cash and tax benefits may come for scrapping old vehicles

  • In the UnionBudget this year, the government may announce cash and tax benefits to owners of old vehicles if they scrap and replace them and may also double the fleet of public transport buses to check pollution.

  • The Road, Transport and Highways Ministry has requested at least 50 per cent rebate in excise duty to people who, on purchase of new vehicles, give their old vehicles in exchange for scrapping.

  • A separate environment- friendly industry to scrap old vehicles is proposed to be set up.

  • Ministry has also requested accelerated depreciation of up to 50 per cent to auto industry on additional investment for bringing environment- friendly vehicles.

  • According to the proposed cash-for-clunkers scheme, consumers would get an incentive, including tax-exemptions, of up to Rs 30,000 for discarding passenger vehicles and up to Rs 1.5 lakh for commercial vehicles.

For increasing profit Air India will not oppose abolition of 5/20 rule

  • National carrier Air India, marking a major shift in its stance, has drop- ped its resistance to abolish five years and 20 aircraft norms, also known as 5/20 rule, for Indian carriers to be able to fly abroad.

  • According to the ‘5/20 rule’, all airlines in India are permitted to fly abroad only if it has five years of domestic flying experience and at least 20 aircraft in its fleet.

  • The Union government has drafted a ‘civil aviation policy,’ that is yet to go to the Cabinet for which its it approval, is evaluating in abolishing the ‘5/20 airlines rule’.

  • The industry is divided over the issue of ‘5/20 rule’. The private air- lines which are allowed to fly abroad — IndiGo, Jet Airways, Spi- ceJet — have all opposed the proposal to abolish the rule as it will impact their market.

  • However, the new airlines vistara and AirAsia India are in favour of scrapping the decade-old rule which is restricting them to fly to international airports from India.

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:: SPORTS ::

Delhi won premier badminton league final

  • Delhi Acers’ calculated gamble paid of as its British- import Rajiv Ouseph pulled of his ‘trump’ match against a des- perate R.M.V. Gurusaidutt of Mumbai Rockets in the tie-decider of the Premier Badminton League final.

  • The 4-3 triumph for Delhi was worth Rs. 3 crore. Mumbai settled for Rs. 2 crore out of the total prize fund of approximately Rs. 6.5 crore.

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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