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“Current Affairs Editorial – How to Turn The Economic Ship Around”

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                    How to Turn The Economic Ship Around

G.S. Paper II: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment; Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

Context:
Who is Muhammad Yunus?
• In 1976, Muhammad Yunus launched Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which made capital available to the poor, especially women.
• He observes, through his new book A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions, that:

Some Profound Observations:
The Potential of Micro Credit:
• The impact of microcredit is enabling millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty.
The Short Comings of the Traditional Banking System:
• The above development has helped to expose the shortcomings of a traditional banking system.

No Country for the poor across the world:
• Yunus found, through his travels, that low-income people in the world’s richest nations were suffering from the same problems the poor faced in poorer nations.
The basic problems faced by the poor the world over:
• The problems are the lack of institutional services, health care, inadequate education, substandard housing, and so forth.

What is the cause behind our glaring Poverty?
• Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, argues through his new book that the problems of poverty are failures of our economic system.
• According to Muhammad Yunus, we’ve tolerated the persistence of poverty, unemployment, and environmental destruction for too long.
• We treated them as if these are natural calamities completely out of human control, or, at best, unavoidable costs of economic growth.

The failure of our Economic System:
• Muhammad Yunus claims that far from being natural, these problems are the failures of our economic system.
• Since the economic system was created by human beings, these failures can be corrected if human beings choose to replace that economic system with a new system.

The Central Problem With Capitalism:
• The central problem with capitalism as it is now practiced is that the system recognizes only one goal — the selfish pursuit of individual profit.
• Only businesses designed around this goal are recognized and supported.
• All three problems, namely the elimination of poverty, unemployment, and environmental degradation, cannot be dramatically reduced if we simply begin designing businesses with the goal of poverty in mind.

Crises in the last decade and its devastations:
• In the last decade, several major crises have combined forces to bring even greater misery and frustration to the world’s bottom 4 billion people.

A Hopeful beginning to the 21st century:
• The 21st century began with high hopes and idealistic dreams, encapsulated in the UN initiative known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
• The establishment of the MDGs led to significant progress on several fronts in the battle against poverty.

The Effect of the Financial Crisis in 2008:
• Sadly, however, 2008 will go down in history as the year of a rude awakening about the gross weaknesses in our capitalist system.

The Three Pronged Crises:
• It was the year of the food price crisis, the oil price crisis, the financial crisis, and the ever-worsening environmental crisis.
• The combined effect of these crises caused a profound loss of faith among people who thought they had full understanding of and control over the global system.

Food Induced Riots due to its shortage:
• Early in 2008, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reported that more than 73 million people in 78 countries were facing the reality of reduced food rations.
• Skyrocketing prices for staple foodstuffs like grains and vegetables especially wheat, food shortages in many countries, rising rates of death from malnutrition, and even food riots threatened the stability of countries around the globe.
• Since the June 2008 peak in global food prices, prices have continued to fluctuate, reaching another record high in 2011.

Climbing Food Prices and Pressure on the Poor:
• As of 2016, they had fallen slightly, bringing a bit of short-term relief to millions. But continuing high food prices have created tremendous pressure in the lives of poor people.
• For the poorest of the poor in the world, the basic food can consume as much as two-thirds of their income.

Solution: Create A Humane System:
• This new system should accurately reflect human nature, human needs, and human desires.

The Role of Social Business:
• This is where social business plays a crucial role.
• Social business offers advantages that are available neither to profit maximising companies nor to traditional charities.

No Profit Pressures and Nagging Investors:
• The freedom from profit pressures and from the demands of profit-seeking investors helps make social businesses viable.

Rate of Social Return is always high:
• Even in circumstances where current capitalist markets fail — where the rate of return on an investment is near zero, but the social return is very high.

The Self Sustaining Economics of Social Business:
• Social business is designed to generate revenues and thereby become self- sustaining.
• It is free from the need to constantly attract new streams of donor funding to stay afloat, which drains the time and energy of so many people in the non-profit arena.
• Thus, the economics of social business can be simple and sustainable.

Successful Models of Social Business across the World:
• This is illustrated by successful experiments that have already been launched in both the developing world and the wealthy nations.

No one can stop an Idea whose time has come:
• We live in a particularly suitable time for some great experiments in Social Business.
• New forms of business, since electronic technologies for information and communication can play a huge role in amplifying the power of individual entrepreneurs today.

Attracting a wider market by harnessing Social Networks:
• A social business owner who devises a product or service that helps the poor or benefits society in some other way may be able to attract a wide market by using social networking and other online tools to spread the word.
• Thanks to the Internet, good ideas can spread more rapidly.
• Proven business models can grow to scale more quickly and easily than ever.

A Marriage of Social Business and Technology:
• Health care, education, marketing, financial services, and many other economic arenas can be revolutionized through the combined power of social business and technology.
• These new economic concepts have been spreading around the globe through the efforts of entrepreneurs, executives, academics, students, and political leaders.

A New Economic System with Social Business as its cornerstone:
• Now it’s time to apply the potential of social business to solving the problems of inequality, unemployment and environmental decay — all symptoms of the broken engine of capitalism.
• We owe it to future generations to begin moving towards a world of three zeros: zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions.
• A new economic system in which social business plays an essential role can enable us to achieve this goal.

Expanding the Prosperity of Humankind for upliftment:
• Humankind as a whole is living in a time of unparalleled prosperity.
• This is fuelled in part by revolutions in knowledge.
• This prosperity has changed the lives of many but billions of people still suffer from poverty, hunger and disease.

The Way Forward: A Comprehensive Redesigning of the International Framework:
• Some serious thought needs to go into how the evolution of the world economy and, in particular, of the system whereby food is produced and distributed has led us to today’s dilemma.

Actions has consequences:
• The economic, political, and business practices prevailing in the developed world have a profound impact on the availability of food in the poor nations of the world.

It’s Time For A Thorough Redesign:
• Thus, solving the global food problem will require a redesign of the international framework, not merely a series of local or even regional reforms.

Source: “THE HINDU Editorial – September 25, 2017

“Current Affairs Pulse – 25/09/2017”

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1. Which of the following statements regarding Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya are correct:
a. Integral humanism is a doctrine developed by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
b. It presents an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at centre stage to appeal to a broader section of Indian Society.
c. The year 2016 is being celebrated as the birth centenary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer the advertisement in The Hindu in J2.

2. Which of the following statements about Pradhan Manthri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana Saubhagya are correct:
a. It aims to provide last mile electricity connectivity to all rural and urban households.
b. The scheme is under the aegis of Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
c. The programme aims to achieve a prosperous and energized new India.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)All of the above
c)2 and 3 only
d)1 and 3 only
Answer: 2
Refer the advertisement in The Hindu in J2.

3. What is the Swiss Challenge Model:
a. Under the Swiss Challenge Model, any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the government.
b. The submitted proposal will be made online and a second person can give suggestions to improve and beat the first proposal.
c. The Railways have decided to do away with the Swiss Challenge model of awarding railway stations to private players.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

4. Which of the following statements about Private players in Railways are correct:
a. The idea of giving operations of railway lines to private players for enhancing competition is being mooted by the Union Government.
b. The New Metro Rail Policy makes involvement of private companies mandatory for states seeking central funds.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements regarding the current priorities of the Ministry of Railways is correct:
a. Clearing the backlog for track renewal would be the focus.
b. Achieving Zero Accident Rate will be an aspiration.
c. Engaging with other countries to rapidly scale up the Bullet Train Project.
d. 100% electrification of the entire railway network.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 4 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

6. Which of the following statements are correct regarding the efforts of the Ministry of Railways to re turn its policy to attract private companies for modernizing railway stations:
a. The Railways have decided to do away with the Swiss Challenge model.
b. Measures to lease out at least 100 stations which includes increasing the lease tenure from 45 years to 99 years allowing private to sub lease stations.
c. The process of bidding is going to be significantly simplified.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

7. Which of the following statements regarding Baba Budan giri are correct:
a. Baba Budangiri is a mountain in the Baba Budan range of the Western Ghats of India.
b. Located in the Chikkamagaluru District of Karnataka.
Answer:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements regarding The Bathukamma Festival are correct:
a. It is a floral festival celebrated by the Hindu women of Telangana as per Shalivahana calendar for nine days and usually in September–October of Gregorian calendar.
b. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers most of them with medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of temple gopuram and it represents the cultural spirit of Telengana.
c. Telangana’s annual festival helps to teach students about diversity of wild flowers.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

9. Which of the following statements about the Santhal Tribes are correct:
a. The Santhals consider Mahisasur their powerful and valiant ancestor, and an unfortunate tragic hero in real life.
b. The Adivasis like Santhals have their counter narratives on the slaughter of Mahishasura which challenges the Brahminical interpretation of history.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements are correct regarding the Supreme Court’s order on Colour Blind Students to pursue medical education:
a. There are no statutory provisions barring students suffering from Colour Vision Deficiency from pursuing the MBBS course.
b. Various colleges and the Medical Council of India have arbitrarily denied admissions to candidates suffering from Colour Vision Deficiency, popularly called colour blindness.
c. The Supreme Court has opened the doors for colour blind students to pursue medical education because the facts and circumstances of the case, according to the Supreme Court, required it to invoke special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

11. Which of the following statements regarding Hyper Spectral Imaging are correct:
a. It is a technology used to analyse extremely detailed images of an object — frequently to the scale of nanometres — and then reconstructing its constituent elements.
b. Using custom – developed algorithms, satellite images, or those taken from low flying planes or drones, this kind of spectroscopy can be used to analyse soil health though it has wider application in geology and deciphering the characteristics of air pollution etc.
Options:
a)Both 1 and 2
b)Neither 1 nor 2
c)1 only
d)2 only
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

12. Which of the following statements regarding the Soil Health Card Scheme are correct:
a. The Department of Science And Technology is linking a research project that uses sophisticated imaging techniques and can picture the nutrient balance of a patch of land without necessarily collecting soil sample to the Soil Health Card Scheme.
b. The Hyper Spectral Imaging technology can be used to calculate the proportion of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous – the three most vital nutrients – as well as other minerals in the soil and be used to gauge its health.
c. In about 2.5 years the researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay are aiming to have a complete database of samples across India but to map the country effectively satellite pictures are required.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

13. Which of the following statements regarding the Alternative Substitute Navigation Spacecraft of the Indian Space Research Organization are correct:
a. The Indian Space Research Organization is to launch one of its back up navigation satellites this year as a replacement to IRNSS-1A satellite.
b. The need to launch an Alternative Substitute Navigation Satellite became essential after the main back up was lost in a failed launch due to the failure of three atomic clocks.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding India – Afghanistan Projects are correct:
a. India has announced 116 smaller new development projects across Afghanistan.
b. By training police officers and hundreds of army cadets and officers, India is talking an important role in capacity building for Afghan security.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding the World Conferences on Untouchability are correct:
a. The first conference on Untouchability took place in London, in the year 2009, resulting in the Conway Hall Declaration on Untouchability, calling on all states where practices of Untouchability were prevalent to introduce legislation to outlaw the practice and undertake programmes of education.
b. The 2nd World Conference on Untouchability was held in Kathmandu, was a continuation of the first World Conference on Untouchability and its main objective was to bring together Politicians, Academics, Human Rights Activists, Jurists and Victims to devise global strategies to address the immense challenge that Untouchability poses to the world.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

16. Which of the following statements about Muhammad Yunus are correct:
a. In 1976, Muhammad Yunus launched Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which made capital available to the poor, especially women.
b. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance thereby enabling economic and social development from below.
c. The book A World of Three Zeroes: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emission has been authored by Muhammad Yunus.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)All of the above
d)1 and 3 only
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 7 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

17. Which of the following statements regarding India’s tryst with the Academy Awards is correct:
a. Amit Masurkar’s Newton is the 50th submission by India to the Best Foreign Film Category at the Academy Awards.
b. India’s first submission to the Academy Awards was in 1957 with the film Mother India and none of the previous submissions by India has won an Oscar.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

18. Which of the following statements regarding Alzheimer’s disease are correct:
a. World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21st of each year, is a day on which Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
b. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia affecting the elderly.
c. Alzheimer’s is caused by genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time but more research is needed in the area to establish the exact genetic disposition of Alzheimer’s.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements regarding the World Alzheimer’s day are correct:
a. World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21st of each year.
b. It is a day on which Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

20. Which of the following statements regarding the North East Connectivity Summit are correct:
a. The fourth Northeast Connectivity Summit was held in Kohima in 2017 and it was announced that Tokyo would invest in the region’s infrastructure, education and people-to-people sectors.
b. The next Connectivity Summit in Tawang is expected to take Japan’s representation into the strategically located region that borders China.
c. The summit also indicated Myanmar’s interest in the potential of the region.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 11 of The Hindu Dated September 25, 2017.

Source: “THE HINDU – 25/09/2017”

Current Affairs Editorial – Question of Numbers

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                                      Question of Numbers

G.S. Paper II: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions; Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these; Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Context:
• On August 22, the dissident legislators approached the Governor with a memorandum expressing lack of confidence in the Chief Minister.
• On September 18, Speaker P.Dhanapal ruled that this amounted to voluntarily giving up their membership of the party and disqualified 18 of them.
• The DMK leader, M.K. Stalin, who also heads the Opposition in the Assembly, approached the Governor.
• The Leader of the Opposition’s demand was that the Governor order a floor test as the ruling party has lost the majority.
• Governor’s inaction for weeks prompted the opposition leader to move the Madras High Court for a direction to the Governor to direct the Chief Minister to seek a confidence vote.
• The disqualification of the ousted legislators by the Speaker of the house saw them approach the High Court.
• The key political question that has arisen in Tamil Nadu is whether Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami commands a majority in the State Assembly.

Abdicating their responsibilities:
• The Governor of Tamil Nadu is obviously averse to ordering a floor test.
• The Chief Minister is not keen on demonstrating his strength on the floor of the House.
• The Speaker is concentrating on ensuring that dissidents are kept out of any possible confidence vote, if and when one takes place.
• The Leader of the Opposition has not moved a motion of no confidence, but, on the contrary, believes that the Governor should order a floor test.
• Dissident legislators from the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has not asked for a meeting of the legislature party to replace Mr. Edappadi Palaniswami with some other leader.

The Interim Orders Passed By the Madras High Court:
• Instead of grappling with the core question concerning the government’s legislative majority or lack of it, the Madras High Court has passed two interim orders which add to the prevailing confusions.
• These interim orders are contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers and touch on matters outside the judicial domain.
• Between the rebel group, the ruling party, and the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), they have used High court as a battleground for the three way political sparring.
• In the prevailing melee, the State Legislative Assembly – the highest deliberative body in the state, which should ideally witness an informed debate based on reasoned arguments, has been given a go by.

The Two Prime Issues before the High Court:
• The Madras High Court needs to arrive at a decision on the following questions:
• The question whether the Governor ought to intervene.
• The question whether the Speaker was helping the ruling party by disqualifying rebels and thereby converting its minority into a majority.

Is Governor’s Inaction Justified?
• The principal reason for the political impasse is Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao’s silence.
• Going by the observations made by the Supreme Court last year, his inaction is possibly justified.

The Arunachal Pradesh Precedent:
• The observations of the Constitution Bench which dealt with the Arunachal Pradesh crisis last year is important.
• It read as follows: “The activities within a political party, confirming turbulence, or unrest within its ranks, are beyond the concern of the Governor”.
• “Who should or should not be a leader of a political party, is a political question, to be dealt with and resolved privately by the political party itself”.
• “The Governor cannot, the Constitution Bench observed, make such issues, a matter of his concern”.
• A breakaway group, according to the judgment, could be legitimate and recognizable only if it constituted two thirds of a party as stipulated in the Tenth Schedule.
• The Governor could embark on a constitutional course of action only on the claims of such a group.

The Scope for Recourse:
• Does it necessarily mean that Governors should not act until a rebellion touches the two-thirds mark within the legislature party?
• A Governor can act even if the dissidents’ legislators within a party are less than two third majority of the political party during a Constitutional Crisis.

Governor’s role during A Constitutional Crisis:
• A Constitutional Crisis is said to have occurred when the government is seen to have lost the confidence of the House.
• The correct reading of the judgment in the Arunachal Pradesh case is that the court bars Governors only from political embroilment.
• The court, at the same time, has not restrained the Governors from their constitutional duty to allay doubts that a particular regime has lost its majority.
• But the Governor of Tamil Nadu has not acted on a reasonable apprehension that the Palaniswami government has been reduced to a minority.

Profound questions: Should the court prompt the Governor for a floor test:
• The question now is this: Should DMK’s petition for a direction to the Governor to order a floor test be allowed by the Madras High Court?
• But since ordering a floor test is a matter that falls under the Governor’s discretion, is such a petition maintainable?

Court’s concern about a truncated majority:
• The court’s attention was drawn to the fact that the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly was planning to disqualify the dissenters in an effort to bring about a majority in a truncated House and not about directing the Governor.
• Hence, the Madras High Court passed an order staying a possible floor test that may have taken place after the feared disqualification.
• This, according to the High Court, was said to be in the interests of justice, as otherwise the government would have sailed through the vote.

Speaker disqualifies dissident members and the stay on floor test:
• But the disqualification of dissident Members of the legislative assembly was carried out by the Speaker.
• And once again, on petitions challenging the Speaker’s order, the court did not grant a stay.
• Instead the Madras High Court extended the stay on the floor test.

Can the Court stall a floor test:
• It is not clear what provision in the Constitution empowers the court to stall a floor test, but there are precedents.

Lessons from precedents:
• The Supreme Court had ordered a ‘composite floor test’ in 1998 and 2005 in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, but these directions attracted considerable criticism.
• The only persons aggrieved by the possible adoption of a confidence vote in their absence will be the disqualified MLAs.
• Therefore, only a stay of their disqualification or an interim direction allowing them to vote during a floor test could have met the interests of justice.

The Court Setting a legislative agenda: Judicial Overreach:
• Instead of adopting this constitutionally permissible course — disqualification under the anti-defection law is justiciable, whereas setting the legislative agenda is outside judicial purview — the court chose to stay the trust vote.
• A stay of the disqualification would have addressed the fears of those disqualified as well as obviated the need for the questionable stay on the floor test to be extended.
• Thereafter, only the constitutionally relevant question on whether the Governor ought to be directed to order a trust vote would have remained for adjudication.
The Supreme Court’s Judgement in the Karnataka Case in 2011.
• The main basis for the challenge to the disqualification of 18 legislators is the 2011 judgment in the Karnataka case.
• The Supreme Court had quashed the disqualification on the ground that the Speaker had given insufficient opportunity and time.
• The Court had also noted that approaching the Governor to set in motion a constitutional process to replace the Chief Minister could not attract the drastic action of removal from the House.
• Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, Mr. Dhanapal’s decision will still have to be tested against the proposition that expressing lack of confidence in the Chief Minister may not amount to voluntarily giving up the party membership.

Emergence of A Pattern:
• Taking up disqualification petitions for adjudication just ahead of a floor test has now become a pattern.
• When the floor test remains the sole and supreme means of ascertaining majority, the partisan element should be taken out of anti-defection law.

The Way Forward: Time to amend the Anti Defection Law:
• The adjudicatory power should be transferred to an independent body such as the Election Commission.
• The time may have come to amend the law conferring on the Speaker the authority to adjudicate questions of defection.

Source: “THE HINDU Editorial – September 23, 2017″

Daily Current Affairs – 25/09/2017

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National News:-

1. PM Modi to launch ‘Power for all’ scheme:-

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch ‘Power for all’ scheme today to mark the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. Official sources said that the scheme will be named ‘Saubhagya’ and will provide subsidy on equipment like transformers, meters and wires.
  • The scheme is expected to cover all rural families after expected electrification of all villages by December end this year. The scheme was listed on the agenda of Cabinet meeting held earlier last week.
  • Centre has asked states to prepare electrification projects which would be discussed and approved for release of funds under the scheme. The government has been working hard to electrify all villages in the country and wants to achieve 24X7 power for all by 2019.
  • Prime Minister will also formally inaugurate ONGC’s new corporate office that was renamed Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Urja Bhawan, from Rajiv Gandhi Urja Bhawan.
  • The green-building built at a cost of Rs. 600 crore was completed a year ago. Mr Modi will also unveil a statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.

2. HC asks Delhi, neighbouring states to implement ban on burning of crop residue:-

Direction from Delhi High Court:-

  • Court has directed the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the NCR of Delhi.
  • To implement notifications and directions issued under the Air Pollution Act to ban burning of crop residues.
  • The Court recognised the need for companies and industries to comply with their corporate social responsibility towards curbing air pollution.
  • The Court directed that orders must be issued to these entities to collect crop residue from fields of farmers by providing them money as consideration for lifting the agricultural residue.

It is Suo Motu Action by the HC:-

  • In response to alarming air pollution levels in the NCR, the Delhi HC had taken up the matter suo motu (on its own motion) in August this year.

3. Start-up funding crawls: 20 months, Rs 70 crore:-

  • The article shows the inability of implementing the FFS scheme, by the government. Government needs to counter the issue.

Fund-of-Funds for start-ups (FFS) is showing slow progress:-

  • FFS was launched in line with the Start-up India Action Plan of the Government
    It is a Rs 10,000-crore Fund.
  • The fund under the plan has made slow progress with only about Rs 70 crore having been disbursed to start-ups until the beginning of this month.

Aim of launching the fund:-

  • The Fund was launched with aim to invest in local venture capital funds.
  • It has made commitments to 62 start-ups.
  • All these 62 start-ups were backed by Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) where state-owned SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) acted as a limited partner.
  • An AIF is any fund established or incorporated in India that is a privately pooled investment vehicle, which collects funds from investors(Indian or foreign) for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors.

4. Tax trauma — On GST Network:-

Context:-

  • Glitches in the GST regime are increasing the anxiety among Indian businesses.

What are the issues?

  • GST Network, is struggling to keep pace with the millions of invoices and returns being filed electronically by businesses across the country.
  • It is clear that the network had not been fully tested for chinks before July
    Implication of these stumbles for 85 lakh taxpayers now registered for GST.
  • For Exporters, because of delayed timelines for filing GST returns, no refunds can be expected before mid-November on input taxes paid in advance and the integrated GST levied on goods they imported.
  • ₹65,000 crore of working capital will get blocked, cramping their ability to ramp up capacity and raw material procurement in time for festive season orders from around the world.
  • A ministerial group formed by the GST Council to resolve the GSTN’s glitches gave an assurance that 80% of the problems would be fixed by the end of October.
  • Several revisions in deadlines, tax and cess rates, rules, clarifications and tweaks later, the GST regime is turning out to be neither simple nor friendly for taxpayers.

5. Compensate cow violence victims, punish violators: SC to states:-

Context:-

  • Taking serious note of violence in the name of saving cows, the Supreme Court passed a slew of measures and asked states to appoint a senior police officer in every district as a nodal officer.

What SC Order says?

  • SC said that states were under obligation to compensate victims of violence by cow vigilante groups even without any judicial order.
  • Law and order has to have primacy and anyone violating it must be dealt with sternly.
    States must frame schemes to compensate victims of crime, including those of cow vigilantism as envisaged by the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • It also asked states and Union Territories to comply with its September 6 order to appoint nodal officers by October 31 to deal with cow vigilantism.

Suggestions:-

  • States has to appoint a senior police officer in every district as a nodal officer.

The senior police officer shall take prompt action and will ensure vigilante groups and such people are prosecuted with promptitude

  • Nodal officers have to ensure that cow vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves.

6. SC on Nirbhaya Fund: Put system in place:-

Context:-

  • The Nirbhaya fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder case in Delhi.
  • It is meant to support initiatives of the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring women’s safety.

Issues with its implementation:-

  • The Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over disbursal of Nirbhaya Fund as there is absence of clarity on how victims will be compensated, who is responsible for paying the compensation and at what stage it has to be paid.
  • Also, there is no uniformity in disbursal of funds to the victims, in states such as Goa, the amount is Rs 10 lakh while in some other states, it is only Rs 1lakh.
  • The Centre had transferred Rs 200 crore under the Nirbhaya scheme to each state but there is no clarity whether this was a one-time transfer or annual procedure.
  • The court also referred to the multiplicity of agencies involved — Home, Women and Child Development, and Finance ministries and said there is no clarity on who was involved.
  • The bench was also unhappy with the Centre’s affidavit and pointed out several instances where state-wise details of the number of such victims and the amount of compensation given to them were not given properly.

7. Three year Action Agenda NITI Aayog:-

Context:-

  • Last month, the NITI Aayog released the Three Year Action Agenda (TYAA, a roadmap for reforming the various sectors of the economy.
  • But it does not recognise the role of trade policy in agriculture, and is silent on money-guzzling food and fertiliser subsidies.

The TYAA basically talks of action pertaining to:-

  • Increasing productivity of land and water
  • Reforming agri-markets on the lines of e-NAM
  • Reforming tenancy laws
  • Relief measures during natural disasters.

However TYAA does not talk about:-

  • Prioritising policy actions
  • Role of trade policy in agriculture
  • Reforming the massive system of food and fertiliser subsidies.

Urgent action is needed on five fronts:-

1.Improve the profitability of cultivation by “getting markets right”,

  • Attempts to reform the APMC markets, and Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017, have not achieved much success.
  • e-NAM scheme, has not succeeded in its endeavour so far.

Solution:-

  • Open up exports of all agri-products, without any restrictions
  • Allow private trade to build global value chains, keeping the Essential Commodities Act in abeyance.

2.It needs to invest in water,

  • The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana is mandated to complete 99 irrigation projects by 2019
  • NABARD, with Rs 40,000 crore as Long-Term Irrigation Fund, is to help states in completing these projects
  • But open canal systems with flood irrigation don’t give high water-use efficiency.Solution
  • Accord higher priority to micro-irrigation (drip and sprinklers);
  • Israel and the US could be good examples to follow.

3.Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of food and fertiliser subsidies can release resources for investments,

  • Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 crores can be saved through DBT, which can be invested in water resources and upgrading marketing infrastructure.

4.It should ensure that the new Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) delivers compensation to farmers in time,

  • These lacunae can be fixed through modern technology and better governance

5.It should free up land lease markets,

  • China allows land lease for 30 years so that corporate bodies can work with farmers, bringing in their best expertise, inputs and investments.

International News:-

1. India Vs Japan: Bullet Train Project:-

Context:

  • This article appears in the background of recent launch of high speed bullet train project between Mumbai-Ahmedabad.

Why the project is not big bang reform for all but a big bang bullet for few?

Shinkansen Technology:-

  • Japan introduced its high-speed Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964 with top speed of 210 km/hr which has now reached 350 km/hr.
  • Ten more countries have also developed high speed train networks like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Turkey and with China having the biggest network of high speed trains.
  • But none of them are using Shinkensen technology, so is shinkensen technology the best? No technical evaluation comparing other available systems seems to have been done.

Transfer of Technology:-

  • Shinkensen technology was offered to China by Japan, but the deal stuck on the issue of transfer of technology.
  • The government has been mentioning about how raw materials, labourers, services for the project will be sourced from India but there has been no mention of transfer of technology.
  • The issue is how Indian engineering going to leap forward if there will be no transfer of technology? And if there was no technology evaluation also, was there any validity report? Yes, it was there but the officialdom has refused to share the report even in response to RTI applications.

2. Over 100 nations back India-China plan on farm subsidies before WTO meet:-

Support to India and China in the WTO:-

  • More than 100 countries have backed a joint proposal by China and India for eliminating the most trade-distorting farm subsidies of $160 billion
  • This huge subsidy is given in countries like the US, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Norway, and Switzerland
  • This proposal was given in the World Trade Organization’s 11th trade ministerial summit,
    In their proposal, India and China said it is a prerequisite to address “the imbalance in the existing AoA (Agreement on Agriculture).
  • In AoA only some members (the US, the EU, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Norway and a few developing countries) have access to bound AMS(Aggregate Measurement of Support).
  • AMS are entitlements to provide billions of dollars for most trade-distorting subsidies, which allows them much “more policy space”

India’s notice on public stock-holding (PSH):-

  • India has served notice to its the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Pakistan.
  • Because India will not offer any further concessions for market access or enter into trade-offs in the negotiations for a permanent solution on PSH programmes.

Economic News:-

1. Unlike 2008-09, govt’s ‘stimulus’ plan may face FPI hurdle this time:-

Context:

  • Due to slowing down of economy, government is finding ways to counter the problem.
  • Giving fiscal stimulus may help countering slow growth rate. The article explains how it may not be fruitful as it was in 2008-09.

Fiscal Stimulus and foreign portfolio investors (FPI):-

  • Unlike 2008-09, when UPA regime unleashed a fiscal stimulus in response to a global financial slowdown, it may be not possible for the current government to spend more to boost the economy.
  • The primary reason for this is the sizable holdings by FPI in Indian debt, which wasn’t a significant restraining factor.
  • In 2008, FPIs held a mere $5.59 billion in Indian debt.But in 2017, their outstanding net investment in government securities and corporate bonds was $72.76 billion Sources of disruption of FPI flows into Indian debt now.
  • The first is the prospect of global interest rates hardening, especially with the US Fed expected to further raise interest rates.
  • On the first source, government has no control.
  • The second is if the government or the RBI were to embark on a fiscal and monetary stimulus, that is seen to undermine macroeconomic stability.

What is Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI)?

  • Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) is investment by non-residents in Indian securities including shares, government bonds, corporate bonds, convertible securities, infrastructure securities etc.
  • The class of investors who make investment in these securities are known as Foreign Portfolio Investors.
  • FPI is induced by differences in equity price scenario, bond yield, growth prospects, interest rate, dividends or rate of return on capital in India’s financial assets.
  • SEBI has recently stipulated the criteria for Foreign Portfolio Investment. According to this, any equity investment by non-residents which is less than or equal to 10% of capital in a company is portfolio investment. While above this the investment will be counted as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  • Investment by a foreign portfolio investor cannot exceed 10 per cent of the paid up capital of the Indian company.
  • All FPI taken together cannot acquire more than 24 per cent of the paid up capital of an Indian Company.
  • As per SEBI regulations, FPIs are not allowed to invest in unlisted shares and investment in unlisted entities will be treated as FDI.

2. RBI removes masala bonds from corporate bond limit:-

  • During his visit to the UK last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the Indian Railways issuing bonds and listing them on the London Stock Exchange.Let’s explore the Bonds as a financial instrument and then dive deep into Masala Bonds.

What are Bonds?

  • Bonds are debt instruments which allow the companies or govt. to raise funds only by incurring debt and lender is guaranteed of a fixed repayment (Principle and Interest).

What are instrument available with Company to raise funds?

1. Issue Bonds – Companies will have to pay the fixed amount when the bond matures.
2. Issue Shares – Companies would like to raise money, but don’t want is as a debt, so company will issue shares.

Company/Investor will prefer what (Debt/Shares)?

  • Companies will prefer to raise money through equities i.e. issuing shares because they will part a share of the company to the investors, while the investors will prefer to purchase bonds because bonds are more secured.
  • Shares may give higher returns in the long run. So, it is risk-return trade-off.

What’s new in the Masala Bonds?

  • Basically, overseas rupee bonds are known as Masala bonds.
  • Indian firms have earlier raised money abroad through bonds and other forms of borrowings, but always in foreign currency.
  • However, the first overseas rupee bonds were issued in 2013 by the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector investment arm.
  • To raise funds for capital expenditure, the Indian Railway Finance Corporation will be issuing bonds denominated in rupees.

“Daily Current Affairs – 24/09/2017”

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National News:-

1. PM launches various projects in Varanasi:-

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, dedicated to the nation, the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul – a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts – at Varanasi.
  • The Prime Minister had laid the foundation stone of this Centre in November 2014.
    Shri Narendra Modi flagged off the Mahamana Express through a video link. This train will connect Varanasi with Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat.
  • The Prime Minister dedicated a Jal Ambulance service, and a Jal Shav Vahan service to the people of Varanasi, through a video link.
  • He distributed tool-kits and solar lamps to weavers and their children.

2. Empowering the Soldier by Project Yash Vidya:-

  • A MoU was signed by Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar and Prof. E Vayunandan, Vice Chancellor, Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU), Nasik on 21 Sep 2017 at New Delhi.
  • The Bachelor’s degree Programme designed for the Army Personnel gives special recognition to the in-service training/Army courses completed and by providing exemption from studying certain courses.
  • The University will award Diploma in Self Empowerment and a Bachelors Degree in Arts or Commerce under PROJECT YASH VIDYA enabling them with academic qualifications for better future.

3. Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana:-

  • The Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Harshvardhan launched “Pt Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana” which will experiment and endeavour to formulate and implement appropriate S&T Interventions for Sustainable Development through cluster approach in Uttarakhand.
  • Addressing the press, the Minister said that this project has been inspired by teachings and ideals of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay whose birth centenary is being celebrated this year.

4. NITI Aayog and Govt. of Assam launches SATH programme:-

  • The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Assam and NITI Aayog organized a state consultative workshop in Guwahati.
  • The consultation marked the launch of program called SATH- Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital, a joint initiative of Government of Assam and NITI Aayog, which aims to provide structured support to Assam in identifying key health priorities and implement the solutions towards transforming the health and improving the well-being of people of Assam.
  • NITI Aayog selected the three states Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka through a three stage challenge-process – expression of interest, presentations by the states and assessment of commitment to health sector reforms.

5. Himachal Pradesh: Country’s first electric bus service launched:-

  • In a boost for green transport in Himachal Pradesh, Transport Minister G S Bali flagged off the country’s first electric bus service for Rohtang Pass, a tourist destination near Manali.
  • HRTC, which will run the electric bus service, will make 10 vehicles available in Kullu and later the facility would be extended to other areas.
  • The minister also laid the foundation stone for a Rs 30-crore modern bus stand at Kullu.

6. India to host World Congress on Adolescent Health next month:-

  • Home to around 253 million adolescents, India will next month host the World Congress on Adolescent Health, billed as the biggest global event in adolescent health this year.
  • Held once in every four years, the International Association for Adolescent Health’s 11th World Congress on Adolescent Health be held in New Delhi from October 27-29.
  • This year’s theme is ‘Investing in Adolescent Health-The Future is Now’.

International News:-

1. Working with India to take ties forward post-Dokalam: China:-

  • The Chinese Consul General has said that India and China are working together to take forward their relationship leaving behind the Doklam episode.
  • Chinese Consul General Ma Zhanwu said this while addressing an event to mark the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Kolkata yesterday.
  • Ma Zhanwu also asserted that by working together cooperation and exchanges can be further enhanced. He said India and China are working together.
  • Asked if both the countries have left behind the Dokalam episode, Zhanwu said, that both countiies have left that issue behind and are working together to take forward the bilateral relationship.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping had a meeting on September 5 to discuss how to enhance the relationship. Zhanwu said as long as the two countries work together, we will able to enhance and develop exchanges and cooperation.
  • Prime Minister Modi had met President Xi on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit on September 5.
  • The two leaders had agreed that both the countries should put in more effort to strengthen the cooperation between their security personnel and ensure that Dokalam-like incidents do not recur.

2. UN Chief lauds India’s contribution towards sustainable development, peace operations & tackling climate change:-

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and praised India’s contribution in the world body’s efforts towards sustainable development, peace operations and tackling climate change.
  • The meeting took place last night after Mrs Swaraj delivered her second annual consecutive address to the UN General Assembly sessions.
  • She was accompanied by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin during the meeting.
  • A readout of the meeting issued by Mr Guterres office said, the UN chief welcomed India’s efforts to implement the ‘2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals’. They also discussed the importance of UN reforms.

3. Thousands flee as Bali volcano threatens to erupt:-

  • More than 35,000 people have fled a menacing volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, fearing it will erupt for the first time in more than half a century as increasing tremors rattle the region.
  • The numbers today from disaster officials are more than double previous estimates and are continuing to rise, they say. It includes people who left voluntarily as well as those ordered to evacuate from a 9-12 km zone around Mount Agung.
  • Authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level on Friday following a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity. Its last eruption in 1963 killed 1,100 people.
  • The mountain, 72-km to the northeast of the tourist hotspot of Kuta, is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
  • The country of thousands of islands is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Economics News:-

1. India growing pretty robustly: World Bank President:-

  • World Bank President Jim Kim has said India has been growing pretty robustly.
    Speaking at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum meeting in New York , Kim said Japan, Europe and the US along with India were growing and there was a levelling-out in developing countries.
  • He called for more cooperation among the multilateral system, private sector and the governments to take advantage of the current win-win situation.

2. Businesses deregistering brands for availing GST must file affidavit: Govt:-

  • Government says, businesses that want to deregister their brands for availing the benefit of lower GST will have to file an affidavit before the tax commissioner about forgoing the rights.
  • A finance ministry statement said, the businesses will also have to print in indelible ink on containers in which they are selling cereals, pulses, flours that they have voluntarily foregone actionable claim or enforceable right on brands.
  • Under the Goods and Services Tax regime rolled out from July 1, unpacked food grains like cereals and pulses are exempt. However, packed foodgrains put up in unit container bearing a brand name attracts 5 per cent levy.
  • Since the GST introduction, it had come to the notice of the tax department that many businesses have been registering their brands to avail the benefit of lower GST.
  • Following that, the GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state counterparts, earlier this month decided that a brand registered as on May 15, 2017, shall be deemed to be a registered brand for the purposes of levy of 5 per cent GST, irrespective of whether or not such brand is subsequently deregistered.
  • Also any brand registered as on May 15, 2017, under the Copyright Act, 1957 shall also be treated as a registered brand for the purposes of levy of 5 per cent GST.

3. Need to fight economic challenges on multiple fronts: CEA:-

  • Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian said today the economy is facing multiple headwinds and there is a need to attack them on various fronts.
  • The economy has lots of challenges ahead as growth is slowing down and investment not picking up.
  • Mr. Subramanian said, there is a need to attack these problems on many fronts including exchange rate and public investments while maintaining macroeconomic stability.
  • On the stimulus package, the CEA said, it is being worked out and an announcement will be made at an appropriate time.
  • It is expected that the government will provide a stimulus to various sectors including power and railways to revive growth.
  • His statements came soon after the government decided to give him a one year extension.
  • His current stint was ending on 16th of next month and now Mr. Subramanian will continue for one more year.

Current Affairs Pulse – 23/09/2017

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1. Which of the following statements about the United Nations General Assembly are correct:
a. The United Nations General Assembly is the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.
b. The United Nations General Assembly comprises of all 193 members of the United Nations.
c. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and was established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017 and Refer the Official Website of The United Nations.

2. Consider the following statements about Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd:
a. MUDRA was not formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Small Industries Development bank of India (SIDBI) with 100% capital being contributed by it.
b. MUDRA has been formed with primary objective of developing the micro enterprise sector in the country by extending various supports including financial support in the form of direct finance.
c. MUDRA will help the government achieve the goal of funding the unfunded Non corporate small business sector.
Which of the following statements are in correct:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)3 only
d)1 and 3 only
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017 and Refer the official website of MUDRA bank.

3. Which of the following film was chosen to represent India in the Best Foreign Language Category at the 90th Academy Award in the year 2018:
a)Newton
b)Thodimuthalum Driksakshiyum
c)Baahubali 2: The Conclusion
d)Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 4 and 13 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

4. Which of the following statements regarding the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016 are correct:
a. In light of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the act seeks to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in all occupations except where the child helps his family after school hours.
b. Exception provision also includes those children who work as artist in an audio-visual entertainment industry, including advertisement, films, TV serials or sports activities except the circus.
c. The Bill adds a new category of persons called adolescent who is defined as a person between 14 and 18 years of age.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 5 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements regarding the powers of the Election Commission are correct:
a. It has the power to grant recognition to political parties and allot election symbols to them.
b. It does not have the power to act as a court for settling disputes related to granting of recognition to political parties and allotment of election symbols to them.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

6. Consider the following statements regarding the power of Election Commission:
a. It advises the governor on matters relating to the disqualifications of the members of the Parliament.
b. It has the power to cancel polls in the event of rigging, booth capturing, violence and other irregularities.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

7. Which of the following statements regarding the Archaeological Survey of India are correct:
a. It regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
b. The Archaeological Survey of India has carried out structural conservation and chemical preservation work of the historic Ananda Temple at Bagan in Myanmar.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements about the Swatchatha Hi Sewa Mission are correct:
a. Ahead of the 3rd anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission that falls on 2nd October, a nation-wide sanitation campaign by name Swachhta Hi Seva has been announced from 15th September to 2nd October 2017.
b. The Swatchtha Hi Sewa campaign is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation which is the convening Ministry for the Swachh Bharat Mission.
c. The objective of the campaign is to mobilise people from all walks of life and reinforce the Jan Aandolan for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)All of the above
d)1 and 3 only
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

9. Which of the following statements about the Dravida Kazhagam are correct:
a. The Dravida Kazhagam party was founded by E. V. Ramasamy or Thanthai Periyar in the year 1944.
b. Its goals were to eradicate the ills of the existing caste system including untouchability and on a grander scale to obtain Dravidian nation from the Madras Presidency.
c. Dravidar Kazhagam’s newspapers Viduthalai and Kudiyarasu propagated Rationalism.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements regarding the concept of Portability in the Public Distribution system are correct:
a. It involves the ambitious exercise of linking of database of beneficiaries of the public distribution system (PDS) with Aadhaar numbers.
b. The idea behind portability in the Public Distribution System is to enable the beneficiaries to visit any fair price shop across the State and get their entitlements.
c. Chhattisgarh is a pioneer in the area of portability in the Public Distribution System but Andhra Pradesh has implemented the concept all over the state.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 6 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

11. Which of the following statements about The Krishna River Management Board are correct:
a. It was constituted by the Central Government in accordance with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act 2014.
b. One of its prime functions is to regulate the supply of water and power from the projects to the successor States of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana in accordance with the awards granted by the Tribunals constituted under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

12. Which of the following statements regarding the Nirbhaya Scheme are correct:
a. The Ministry of Finance, Government of India had set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund in 2013, for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country.
b. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal Ministry to appraise schemes under Nirbhaya Fund and it also reviews and monitors the progress of sanctioned Schemes in conjunction with the line Ministries/Departments.
c. The Central Victim Compensation Fund under the Nirbhaya Scheme which takes care of the psychological well being, medical treatment and education of the sexual assault/acid attack victims was initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)1 and 3 only
c)2 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

13. Which of the following is not one of the Schemes initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development under Nirbhaya Fund:
a)One Stop Center/ Sakhi Center
b)Universalisation of Women Helpline
c)Mahila Police Volunteer
d)Emergency Response Support System
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017 and the website of the Ministry of Women And Child Development.

14. Which of the following statements regarding Quantitative Easing are correct:
a. It is a policy wherein a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.
b. Quantitative Easing provides financial institutions with capital in an effort to promote increased lending and liquidity.
c. It is part of the Monetary Policy measure of Central Banks.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 10 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017 and Investopedia website.

15. Which one of the following personalities has proposed the Five Point Peace Plan for the Rohingya Migration issue:
a)Shiekh Hasina.
b)Khaleeda Zia
c)Kofi Annan
d)Muhammad Yunus.
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

16. Which of the following statements regarding the International Organization For Migration are correct:
a. India is not a member state of the International Organization For Migration.
b. International Organization For Migration is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

17. Which of the following statements regarding the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are correct:
a. India is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
b. Along with Association of South East Asian Nations, the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to find a solution to the Rohingya issue is vital.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

18. Which of the following statements regarding the United Nations Human Rights Council are correct:
a. The United Nations Human Rights Council is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties.
b. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 13 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements about Khoramshahr are correct:
a. It is a latest ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km, capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel.
b. It was developed by Iraq as part of its Ballistic Missile Program in defiance of mandatory penalties slapped by the United States.
Answer:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

20. Which of the following statements about the Trade Facilitation in Services are correct:
a. It is aimed at easing norms, including those related to the movement of skilled workers across borders for short-term work, to boost global services trade growth.
b. The proposal to create Trade Facilitation in Services is the proposal of India at World Trade Organization.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017.

21. The Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, 2017 will take place in which city:
a. Buenos Aires.
b. Lima
c. Rio De Janeiro
d. Bogota
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 23, 2017 and WTO website.

Source: “THE HINDU – 23/09/2017”

Current Affairs Pulse – 24/09/2017

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1. Which of the following statements about the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor are correct:
a. The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor spans six States namely Uttar Pradesh, Delhi National Capital Region, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
b. It uses the 1,500-km-long, high-capacity western Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor (DFC) as the backbone.
c. The Indian government holds 49% equity in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, while the remaining is held by HUDCO (19.9%), IIFCL (4.1%) and LIC (1%).
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

2. Consider the following statements about JICA – Japan International Cooperation Agency:
a. The JICA – Japanese Investment Cooperation Agency is the Japanese governmental agency in charge of implementation of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
b. The main objective of Japanese Investment Cooperation Agency is promoting economic development and welfare in developing countries.
c. The Japanese Investment Cooperation Agency’s Official Development Assistance to India started in 1958 and so far around ₹2.75 lakh crore in Official Development Assistance loans have been committed for development and it is India’s biggest bilateral Donor.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

3. Which of the following statements about the Petroleum Pricing Policy are correct:
a. Petrol and diesel prices across the country are revised on a daily basis, against the previous policy of revising prices every fortnight.
b. By opting for daily pricing, India has joined advanced countries like the United States and others which follow the practice.
c. The new daily pricing policy will now allow oil marketing companies such as Indian oil, Bharath Petroleum Corporation and others to price their products in accordance with their fluctuating input costs.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

4. Which of the following statements about the Chakmas are correct:
a. In the 1960s, over one lakh Chakmas and Hajong refugees, Buddhist and Hindus, fled to India from the Chittagong Hill tract area in the then East Pakistan facing religious persecution.
b. The area where Chakma – Hajongs lived was submerged following the construction of the Kaptai dam and they were made to settle in the Tirap division of Arunachal Pradesh.
c. In September 2015, directed the State government to grant citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)1 and 3 only
c)2 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

5. What is Inner Line Permit System:
a. The inner line permit (ILP) system is an official travel document required by Indian citizens to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
b. It is issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, by the state governments.
c. The document is an effort by the Government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India as part of security measures.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

6. Which of the following regarding the Cassini spacecraft’s discoveries in the planet of Saturn are correct:
a. Seasonal changes on Saturn.
b. A hexagon-shaped pattern on its north pole.
c. The moon Titan’s resemblance to a primordial Earth.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 14 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

7. Which of the following statements about the female Milkweed butterfly are correct:
a. In April- June, just before the onset of India’s intensive southwest monsoon, millions of female Milkweed butterflies migrate from the wet Western Ghats to the relatively drier eastern plains and hills.
b. After migration, they swarm in large numbers: hanging around each other and roosting on plants after which they mate, lay eggs and die.
c. The next generation of butterflies flees from the North East monsoon that now hits the eastern plains and they migrate to the Western Ghats just as the South West Monsoon retreats from there.
d. The bodies of female migratory butterflies changed drastically because they invested significantly in abdominal tissue in the reproductive phase after migration, without decreasing investment in flight muscles.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements regarding the research done by researchers from Mumbai’s Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Tata Memorial Centre using photothermal ablation for treating oral cancer are correct:
a. They have synthesised hybrid polymer-gold nanoparticles as photothermal agent to ablate solid tumours.
b. The near infrared light heats up the nano particles and the heated nanoparticles in turn can kill the cancer cells.
c. Besides killing the cancer cells through thermal ablation, the polymer degrades at about 43 degree C and releases the drug to completely kill the tumor.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

9. Which of the following statements about Drug Resistant Bacteria are correct:
a. Due to the discharge of untreated effluents from pharmaceutical companies in Hyderabad, water bodies in and around the Patencheru-Bollaram Industrial area are contaminated with antibiotics and antifungal agents.
b. This has lead to the emergence of Multi Drug Resistant Bacteria which can produce enzymes such as extended spectrum beta – lactamases and carbapenemases which can protect them from antibiotics such as pencillin and cephalosporins.
c. This finding further confirms previous studies that there is a strong association between drug pollution and presence of multidrug resistant bacteria.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

10. Which of the following statements regarding the Lilliput Effect are correct:
a. The meteor-induced mass extinction (a.k.a. the K-Pg event) led to acceleration in the rate of genetic evolution among avian survivors of the dinosaurs.
b. The size reductions after mass extinctions may have occurred in many groups of organisms.
c. The new evidences reviewed by the scientists are also consistent with a Lilliput Effect affecting birds across the K Pg mass extinction.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)1 and 3 only
c)2 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

11. Which of the following statements regarding the protein p21 are correct:
a. Chemotherapeutic drugs like doxorubicin and topotecan act by inducing DNA damage leading to the activation of an important protein called p21, which gets produced in larger quantities.
b. The p21 protein helps stop the growth of cells and triggers senescence or apoptosis in cancer cells thereby killing them.
c. In many drug-resistant cancer cells the production of p21 is compromised, thereby preventing the destruction of cancer cells even in the presence of these drugs.
d. The researchers at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) found out that small molecules that were available (from other researchers) were able to disrupt the binding of TRF2 (telomere repeat factor 2) to the p21 promoter site.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 4 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

12. Which of the following statements regarding Cancer Drug Resistance are correct:
a. Improving or regaining the sensitivity of existing anticancer drugs is a quicker way to address the problem of cancer drug resistance than developing new drugs.
b. Cancer cell sensitivity to existing drugs can be regained by using small molecules.
c. When the small molecules are given along with the anticancer drug doxorubicin there is increased amount of p21 produced and cancer cells that were unresponsive to doxorubicin once again become sensitive to the drug.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

13. Which of the following statements regarding Cardiovascular Diseases are correct:
a. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and a major economic burden globally.
b. It is estimated that 70% of cardiovascular disease deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where it is the most common cause of death.
c. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that no less than a half hour of moderate exercise a day goes a long way in keeping cardiovascular disease (CVD) at bay.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 17 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements regarding SPAG9 are correct:
a. It is a tumor antigen named SPAG9 that promises to be a highly potent weapon against Cervical Cancer which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.
b. Cells called monocytes are taken from the patient’s blood and modified into what are called dendritic cells which has efficient antigens to stimulate the fighter cells, or T-cells, in the body and are then primed with the tumour antigen SPAG9, for 10 days, and given back to the patients in the form of a vaccine.
c. If the trials succeed, It will be the first molecule identified in India and will be an example of translational research outcome.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 17 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements regarding the Manipuri language and script are correct:
a. Manipuri belongs to the Tibeto-Burmese branch of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages.
b. The Manipuri script, over 3,500 years old by some accounts was edged out by a Bengali import.
c. The script was lost to the speakers of the language when Shantidas Gosai, a Hindu missionary, spread Vaishnavism in the region in 1709, during the reign of Pamheiba who assumed the name Garib Niwaz and decreed its replacement with that of Bengali.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

16. The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups are characterized by which of the following features:
a. A pre-agriculture level of technology.
b. A stagnant or declining population
c. Extremely low literacy
d. Subsistence level of economy.
Options
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 2 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

17. The new Medium Range Missile Khoramshahr was launched by which of the following countries:
a)Iran
b)Iraq
c)Saudi Arabia
d)Pakistan
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 3 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

18. Which of the statements regarding North Korea are correct:
a. The Tropic of Cancer does not pass through North Korea.
b. The 38th parallel, popular name given to latitude 38° N, roughly demarcates North Korea and South Korea.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 3 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements regarding Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan is correct:
a. Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution explicitly states the decision to forever renounce war as a sovereign right and to eschew the maintenance of military forces.
b. This pacifist stance has been facilitated by a security alliance with the U.S. that commits the latter to defending the archipelago in the event of an attack.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 5 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

20. In which state is the Sandur Hills located:
a)Karnataka
b)Andhra Pradesh
c)Telengana
d)Kerala
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 6/7 of The Hindu Dated September 24, 2017.

Source: “THE HINDU – 24/09/2017”

“Daily Current Affairs – 23/09/2017”

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National News:-

1. Andhra CM Naidu declares 2017 as e-pragati year:-

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has declared the year of 2017 as e-pragati year.
  • Naidu said that all districts must come under the purview of the flagship programme that will help the government make real-time governance.
  • The Chief Minister also inaugurated the Andhra Pradesh Sports Policy 2017.

2. Mazagon Dock Ltd delivered 1st scorpion class submarines to Indian Navy:-

  • The state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai delivered the first of six scorpion class submarines to the Indian Navy. The submarine, INS Kalvari will be commissioned soon.
  • A senior Navy official said, the development marks a major milestone in Indian Navy’s submarine programme as the vessel is expected to bolster India’s maritime prowess.
  • The six submarines designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, will replace the Indian Navy’s aging Sindhughosh and Shishumar class of submarines.

3. Andhra Pradesh to be declared ODF by March 2018:-

  • Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N Chandrababu Naidu, announced that Andhra Pradesh will be declared ODF by March 2018.
  • This was announced during a Collectors’ Conference in Vijaywada, as a part of the Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign.
  • Adding momentum to this drive more than 2 lakhs toilet pits were dug on 17th September in Madhya Pradesh. These are targeted to be converted into one lakh toilets by 2nd October.

4. NHRC National Seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights:-

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh said that in Indian culture, the focus has always been on duties and not on rights; if everybody attends to his duties, the rights of all automatically get protected.
  • He was addressing at a National seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights, organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
  • He said that the concept of Human Rights in the centuries old Indian ethos is rooted in peace, unlike the West where it shaped up with conflict post- World War-II.

International News:-

1.International Day of Peace: 21 September:-

  • The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day is observed annually on 21 September.
  • It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence.
  • The theme for International Day of Peace2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”

2. World Alzheimer’s Day: 21 September:-

  • World Alzheimer’s day is the international an international day observed on 21 September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.
  • World Alzheimer’s day was launched in 2012.
  • World Alzheimer’s Day 2017 Theme is “Remember me”.

3. New Zealand ‘top in world’ for preparing students for future:-

  • New Zealand and Canada have been singled out as the countries that best prepare students for the future, in a major study that assesses the “effectiveness” of education systems.
  • The Worldwide Educating for the Future Index, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the Yidan Prize Foundation, evaluates education systems in 35 economies across 16 indicators.
  • The five highest ranked countries are New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Switzerland and Singapore.
  • The two countries supplying the largest pool of workers in the world, India and China, are also below average (at 29th and 31st respectively).

4. US to give $32mn in aid to Rohingya:-

  • The US will provide a humanitarian aid package worth $32 million to the Rohingya Muslim minority who have fled violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh.
  • The aid package comes a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Myanmar de facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Some 415,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the ongoing violence broke out on August 25 when Rohingya rebels attacked police checkposts in Rakhine resulting in the deaths of 12 security personnel.

Economic News:-

1. OECD cuts India’s FY18 growth outlook:-

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has trimmed India’s growth forecast for the current financial year, citing the temporary impact of the rollout of the goods and services tax and demonetisation.
  • OECD said India’s economy will likely grow 6.7% in FY18, lower than its estimate of 7.3% in June.
  • In contrast, China’s economy gets a 0.2% lift from its earlier assessment to 6.8% for 2017.

2. SBI tops trust and popularity charts:-

  • State Bank of India (SBI) is India’s most trusted and most popular bank according to a survey conducted by Brand Finance, a business valuation and strategic consultancy headquartered in London.
  • On the trust charts, SBI is followed by HDFC Bank and Central Bank of India whereas on the popularity charts, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank take the second and third spots respectively.

“Current Affairs Editorial – Solving the Afghan Riddle”

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Solving the Afghan Riddle

G.S.Paper II: India and its neighbourhood- relations:-

Context:

  • The visit of James Mattis, the United States of America’s Secretary Of Defense, to India is being looked forward to by India.
  • The following issues are expected to take primacy namely, counter terrorism, Defense ties and Afghanistan.
  • The visit of the United States of America’s Defense Secretary comes barely a month after President Donald Trump announced the latest U.S. policy on Afghanistan on August 21.

The Situation In Afghanistan:

  • The situation in Afghanistan continues to be fragile.
  • The Taliban has made some gains by changing their strategy.
  • But the Taliban today is not a cohesive movement and has divisions within it.

Major Change in the United States of America’s policy in Afghanistan:

  • The important issue today is how the U.S. strategy differs from the past in terms of addressing concerns regarding Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
  • In a nutshell, the United States of America’s Policy on Afghanistan envisages the following:
  • More pressure on Pakistan.
  • No early U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • Robust military action on counterterrorism
  • A greater role for India.

Shift in Pakistan’s strategic priority towards China:

  • This change in approach of the United States should be analyzed in view of a shift in Pakistan’s strategic priority towards China.
  • More pressure on Pakistan: Part of the New Policy in Afghanistan.,
  • In 2009, President Barack Obama had spoken of Pakistan’s lack of action, but not so strongly and harshly as his successor Mr. Donald Trump.
  • Sharp words on Pakistan have been said at different levels by earlier U.S. administrations too.
  • They were also codified in the form of conditions in various assistance laws, including the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill.

Afghanistan – Pakistan Relationship:

  • A study of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations since 1947 will reveal that their relations have always been thorny and replete with problems.
  • The only exception was during the brief Taliban era which saw occasional flare ups with regard to the Durand Line.
  • India-Pakistan relations, good or bad, has had not impacted Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.

The Indo Afghan Relationship:

  • Just after Independence, on January 4, 1950, India signed a Treaty of Friendship with Afghanistan.
  • This friendship treaty also permitted opening of consulates in each other’s country.
  • In October 2011, India was the first country Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement with.
  • India has always wanted a democratic, stable and strong Afghanistan able to decide its own future.
  • The basic tenets of India’s aims, policy and approach towards Afghanistan in respect of bilateral and regional cooperation remain unchanged.

India’s Strategic Partnership with Afghanistan:

  • India has a close strategic partnership with Afghanistan.
  • It covers a broad spectrum of areas which include political, security, trade and economic cooperation as well as capacity development.
  • India’s assistance in the defense sector has been modest and based on specific requests by the government of Afghanistan.

India’s Reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan:

  • India is always ready for more intensive bilateral relations.
  • It has been at the forefront in respect of assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
  • India is considered, by the Afghan population as non-threatening with its democratic traditions upheld as a model.
  • Afghans also appreciate that India had never interfered in their internal affairs.

Scope for a more proactive role for India in Afghanistan:

  • The Afghans want more help.
    Speedy augmentation, training and supply of equipment for the Afghan National Security
  • Forces is important to enable Afghanistan to protect its interests and maintain peace in the country.
  • India could assist Afghanistan in training as per their requirement and supplying much-needed spare parts and such equipment as is possible without deployment of Indian troops in Afghanistan.

Enabling Afghanistan access the Energy Arc:

  • Asia is a region of energy and resources stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia to Siberia and Russia’s Far East.
  • The energy basket needs to be exploited for the benefit of Afghanistan and the surrounding region.
  • The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, SAARC (South AsianAssociation for Regional Cooperation) and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) should help in encouraging regional economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours.

Helping Afghans connect with the world at large:

  • Expeditious action on completion of the Chabahar port will help in increasing Afghanistan’s contacts with India and the outside world.

Reducing Outside Interference in Afghanistan:

  • There should be no outside interference in Afghanistan.
  • To enable this, the infrastructure of terrorism has to be dismantled.

Preventing Safe Sanctuary for the terrorists:

  • It is important to deny sanctuary and support to the Taliban’s Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network.
  • For any effective counterterrorism policy, all major terrorist groups operating in the area should be considered a single group.

The effect of Opium Trading:

  • It is also imperative to redouble counter-narcotics efforts as Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium.
  • India is in favour of a reconciliation process which has overall Afghan support and is based on internationally accepted redlines.

Peace and Reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan by India:

Peace and reconciliation were embedded in the very first international compact on Afghanistan, in the text of the Bonn Agreement of December 2001.

How to Ensure Regional Security In Afghanistan:

  • For regional security there must be closer involvement of regional powers in international efforts to ensure non-interference and a stable Afghanistan.
  • It is important for India to coordinate its efforts with those of Russia, Iran and the Central Asian Republics to ensure success.

The effect of India – Pakistan relations on Afghanistan:

Unfair attempts have been made now and then to link the Afghan issue with India-Pakistan relations.
India and Afghanistan have never exploited their friendly bilateral relations to harm Pakistan.

This is clear from three things:

  • In both the 1965 and 1971 wars, Afghanistan was non-committal and did not support India.
  • On the Kashmir issue, Afghanistan has not publicly supported India.
    India has not entered the debate on the Durand Line.

India’s objective in Afghanistan: A democratic, stable and strong Afghanistan:

  • Neither India nor India- Pakistan relations were responsible for the situation which prevailed in Afghanistan following the departure of the Soviet troops.
  • No extremist group — the Taliban, Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba — is based in India or has any Indian connection.
  • India, in fact, has always been a part of the solution as far as the problems in Afghanisthan is concerned.
  • To blame India-Pakistan relations for the situation in Afghanistan is neither fair nor just.

Conclusion:

  • The problems affecting Afghanistan has been clearly identified by the United States of America and it are reflected in the changes made to its Afghan policy.
  • But the million dollar question is this: Can they implement the same and bring about a much needed change in Afghanistan?
  • India too needs to roll up its sleeves and play a pro active role to usher in Peace and Prosperity in Afghanistan.

“Current Affairs Pulse – 22/09/2017”

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1. Which of the following statements regarding the India Club in London are correct:
a. It was a hub for Indian nationalists in the U.K. during the independence movement in the 1930s and 40s.
b. The India Club has its roots in the India League which campaigned for Indian independence.
c. It has functioned as an Indian restaurant and hangout for Indian journalists and intellectuals since 1946.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)1 and 3 only
c)2 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 22 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

2. Which of the following statements about the Khelo India School Games Project are correct:
a. It aims to create the best ever school tournament (under-17) wherein the best of the National Sports Federation come, the best of the Sports Authority of India academies and the best of the schools come and they compete in an environment where the technical facilities are world class.
b. The program identifies 1000 athletes and provides them continuous support for eight years’ worth ₹5 lakh per athlete each year adding 1000 athletes to this list every year and non-performers would be weeded out.
c. It aims to utilize modern technology as well to reach out to youngsters in far-flung corners of the country.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)1 and 3 only
c)2 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 21 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

3. Which one of the following are not the recommendations of the Lodha Panel to reform the Board of Control For Cricket in India:
a. One state, one vote and no proxy voting of individuals.
b. Separate governing bodies for the IPL and BCCI.
c. Relegation of Railways, Services and Universities as Associate members and no voting rights for them.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 19 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

4. Which of the following statements about Bonds are correct:
a. As Bond Prices increase, bond yields fall.
b. As Bond Prices decreases, bond yield rises.
c. As Bond Prices increase, bond yields rise.
d. As Bond Prices decrease, bond yield fall.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

5. Which of the following statements about the presence of a world class Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre in India are correct:
a. The size of the global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) market is about $280 billion and that of Asian MICE market about $60 billion.
b. India until now did not benefit from the market size due to lack of world class ECC.
c. A $5 billion-worth world-class and state-of-the-art Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (ECC) in the national capital, which has been proposed, will be the largest such facility in Asia upon its completion in 2021.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 16 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

6. Which of the following statements about Power Grid Corporation of India Limited are correct:
a. The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, as the Central Transmission Utility of the country, is responsible for planning and coordinated development of reliable transmission infrastructure.
b. The Power Grid Corporation has already established interconnections with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh having an overall cumulative capacity of over 2500 MW.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

7. Which of the following statements regarding the new sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United States of America are correct:
a. The new set of sanctions is wider and it includes the blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea.
b. This new black list includes shipping and trade networks, textiles, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing industries.
c. This new sanction, it is believed, will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 15 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

8. Which of the following statements about the new PPP Policy for Affordable Housing are correct:
a. The new policy has eight PPP options, including six for promoting affordable housing with private investments using government lands.
b. This policy seeks to assign risks among the government, developers, and financial institutions, to those who can manage them the best, besides leveraging under-utilized and unutilized private and public lands.
c. The above policy intervention is aimed at meeting the Housing for All target by 2022 under The Pradhan Manthri Awaas Yojana by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 12 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017 and PIB Newsletter dated 21 September 22, 2017.

9. Which one of the following personalities have been accorded the Title Mahamana:
a. Pandit Madan Mohan Malavya
b. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay
c. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
d. Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 12 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017

10. Which of the following statements about The Women’s Reservation Bill are correct:
a. It was proposed to amend the Constitution of India to reserve 33% of all seats in the Lower house of Parliament of India, the Lok Sabha only.
b. The seats were proposed to be reserved in rotation and would have been determined by draw of lots in such a way that a seat would be reserved only once in three consecutive general elections.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 12 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017

11. Which of the following statements about the Cooperative societies in India are correct:
a. The cooperatives were mainly present in sugar and dairy sectors in India.
b. Sectors like neem oil production, fishery sector and beekeeping are fertile grounds for cooperatives to step in future.
c. Laxman Madhav Rao Inamdar was a great leader associated with the Cooperative Movement in Maharashtra.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 12 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

12. Bannerghatta National Park is located in which of the following states:
a. Kerala
b. Karnataka
c. Tamil Nadu
d. Andhra Pradesh
Answer: 2
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

13. Which of the following statements about White Tiger are correct:
a. It has the black stripes typical of the Bengal tiger, but carries a white or near-white coat.
b. The white fur caused by a lack of the pigment pheomelanin, which is found in Bengal tigers with orange color fur.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 9 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

14. Which of the following statements about Khas Durbar are correct:
a. It was conducted by the Maharajas of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysuru at the Amba Vilas Palace.
b. Khas Durbar is a symbolic rendition of the practices which were in vogue during the rule of the maharajas and is recreated during the Dasara celebrations today.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 8 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

15. Which of the following statements about Nuclear Energy in India are correct:
a. Nuclear energy is emerging as one of the most important and clean sources to meet the rising energy needs of India.
b. Now, Nuclear energy is being utilized for other socially relevant purposes like irradiation of agricultural and food products.
c. The Department of Atomic Energy has also been engaged in the development of nuclear power technology, applications of radiation technologies in the fields of medicine, industry and basic research.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer The PIB newsletter dated September 22, 2017.

16. Which of the following statements about Migrants are correct:
a. Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution.
b. The situation of Refugees is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as “refugees” with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations.
c. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they need sanctuary elsewhere.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017 and the UNHRC Website.

17. Which of the following statements about Migrants are correct:
a. Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but mainly to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons.
b. Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants face no such impediment to return and if they choose to return home, they will continue to receive the protection of their government.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 1 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

18. What do you mean by the acronym SNAFU:
a. It was a military parlance used during the World War II.
b. SNAFU stands for Situation Normal, All Fouled Up.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

19. Which of the following statements about Indian Leopard are correct:
a. The Indian Leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
b. The first ever count of India’s leopards was conducted alongside the tiger census in 2016.
c. The leopards were counted using the same methods adopted for the tiger census.
d. It involves getting pictures of animals through camera-trapping and gathering other evidence of their presence, and then extrapolating the numbers to cover the entire forest landscape.
Options:
a)1 and 2 only
b)2 and 3 only
c)1 and 3 only
d)All of the above
Answer: 4
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

20. Based on the Census of Indian Leopard population, which of the following states in India has the largest population of the elusive species:
a. Madhya Pradesh
b. Karnataka
c. Maharashtra
d. Chattisgarh
Answer: 1
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.

21. Which of the following statements about the documentary Guli’s Children are correct:
a. The documentary tries to locate the genealogical link between Calicut (Kozhikode), which is called Guli in Chinese, and China.
b. There existed a rich interaction between China and India between the 12th and 15th centuries AD, when the Chinese frequented Calicut, Cochin and Quilon through the maritime Silk Road.
Options:
a)1 only
b)2 only
c)Both 1 and 2
d)Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: 3
Refer Page No 4 of The Hindu Dated September 22, 2017.