“Daily Current Affairs – 13/09/2017”

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National News:-

1)Sir Creek is very important for national security: Nirmala Sitharaman:-

  • The resolution to the Sir Creek dispute has been considered a low-hanging fruit for sometime now. The demarcation of the 96 km strip of water in the Rann of Kutch marshlands was one of the factors that contributed to the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
  • Therefore, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently said that Sir Creek, located on the Gujarat border with Pakistan, is a “very important place” for national security, particularly Gujarat’s security.
  • India and Pakistan have discussed about the land boundary in the Sir Creek area and also delimitation of International Maritime Boundary between India and Pakistan. They have expressed their desire to find an amicable solution of the Sir Creek issue through sustained and result- oriented dialogue.
  • Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative. The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.
  • Apart from strategic location, Sir Creek’s core importance is fishing resources. Sir Creek is considered to be among the largest fishing grounds in Asia.
  • Another vital reason for two countries locking horns over this creek is the possible presence of great oil and gas concentration under the sea, which are currently unexploited thanks to the impending deadlock on the issue.

2)Uttarakhand ropes in HNB Garhwal University students to clean Ganga:-

  • Uttarakhand-based Hemawati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University has signed a MoU with Namami Gange Project for Ganga Conservation.
  • Under Namami Gange project, the University will initiate activities like holding events, seminars and conferences to make strong pitch for public outreach and community participation.
  • The Union government approved “Namami Gange” Program in May 2015. It integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga River in a comprehensive manner.
  • Among other things, the programme will focus on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion & treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation / appropriate in-situ treatment / use of innovative technologies.

3)FSSAI launches online platform for food inspection, sampling:-

  • To bring in transparency in food safety inspection and sampling, food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has put in place a nationwide online platform called ‘FoSCoRIS’ and has asked states to adopt this system as it would help eliminate discrepancy and make food safety officers accountable.
  • The web-based ‘FoSCoRIS’ system will help verify compliance of food safety and hygiene standards by food businesses as per the government norms.
  • The new system will bring together all key stakeholders — food businesses, food safety officers (FSOs), designated officers, state food safety commissioners — on a nation-wide IT platform and data related to inspection, sampling and test result data will be shared seamlessly by all the officials.
  • This system will give a clear picture to the FSSAI on the real-time basis and helps eliminate any discrepancy, hence inspection is accountable. The system will ease out the process of sample collection, make it transparent and traceable and controls the quality of compliances.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
  • It was created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

International News:-

1)UN Security Council Unanimously Steps Up Sanctions Against North Korea:-

  • The United Nations Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea on Monday over the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, imposing a ban on the country’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.
  • It was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member council since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
    Limits on imports of crude oil and oil products. China, Pyongyang’s main economic ally, supplies most of North Korea’s crude oil.
  • A ban on exports of textiles, which is Pyongyang’s second-biggest export worth more than $700m (£530m) a year.
  • Measures to limit North Koreans from working overseas, which the US estimates would cut off $500m of tax revenue per year.
  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • The Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent. The five permanent members, each with the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Economic News:-

1)Farm loan waiver may push inflation by 0.2%: RBI paper:-

  • In India, farm loan waivers have been announced intermittently by both the central and state governments to provide relief to farmers facing distress due to natural calamities/crop failure.
  • However, according to a recent report by the RBI, farm loan waiver amounting to Rs 88,000 crore likely to be released in 2017-18 by seven states, including Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, may push inflation on permanent basis by 0.2%.
  • The total loan waiver amount that is likely to be released in 2017-18 by seven states is around Rs 881 billion (0.5% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP). That Loan waivers could add to the fiscal burden over the medium term as they are essentially a transfer from taxpayers to borrowers.
  • Besides, random fiscal policy shocks, such as loan waivers, have an enduring impact on market borrowings, as evident from past episodes of such waivers.

Drawbacks of loan waivers:-

  • Firstly, it covers only a tiny fraction of farmers. The loan waiver as a concept excludes most of the farm households in dire need of relief and includes some who do not deserve such relief on economic grounds.
  • Second, it provides only a partial relief to the indebted farmers as about half of the institutional borrowing of a cultivator is for non-farm purposes.
  • Third, in many cases, one household has multiple loans either from different sources or in the name of different family members, which entitles it to multiple loan waiving.
  • Fourth, loan waiving excludes agricultural labourers who are even weaker than cultivators in bearing the consequences of economic distress.
  • Fifth, it severely erodes the credit culture, with dire long-run consequences to the banking business.
  • Sixth, the scheme is prone to serious exclusion and inclusion errors, as evidenced by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) findings in the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008.
  • Lastly, schemes have serious implications for other developmental expenditure, having a much larger multiplier effect on the economy.

2)Direct tax revenue grows 17.5% to Rs 2.24 lakh cr in Apr-Aug:-

  • Direct Tax Collections has shown a growth of 17.5 percent upto August this year, standing at 2.24 lakh crore rupees which is 17.5 percent higher than net collections for same period last year.
  • This collection is 22.9 percent of the total Budget Estimates of Direct Taxes for the Financial Year 2017-18. In a series of tweet, Finance Ministry, the growth rate for Corporate Income Tax (CIT) during the period is 5 per cent while that for Personal Income Tax, it is 16 percent.
  • However, after adjusting for refunds, the net growth in CIT collections is 18.1 per cent while that in PIT collections, it is 16.5 per cent.
  • The Ministry also said, refunds worth over 74 thousand crore rupees were issued during April, 2017 to August, 2017 which are 7.2 per cent lower than refunds issued during same period in 2016-17.

3)Retail inflation rises to five-month high of 3.36 per cent in August:-

  • Retail inflation rose to a five-month high of 3.36 per cent in August this year, due to some food items turning costlier. Consumer price index based inflation had stood at 2.36 per cent in July this year.
  • Overall food inflation in August reversed its deflationary trend, and rose to 1.52 per cent in August, government data showed.

4)India’s industrial production grows 1.2 per cent in July:-

  • The country’s industrial production grew 1.2 per cent in July this year. Industrial output had grown 4.5 per cent in July last year, and contracted 0.2 per cent in June this year.
  • According to data released by the Central Statistics Office, on Tuesday, manufacturing output grew 0.1 percent in July, and electricity generation increased 6.5 percent, percent during the month.
  • Capital goods output contracted 1 percent in July. Consumer durables output shrank 1.3 percent, but production of consumer non-durables rose 3.4 percent in July.

Science and Technology:-

1)Ultra-thin craft may wrap and destroy space junk:-

  • Scientists are developing an ultra-thin spacecraft that can remove space debris – which potentially threaten satellites or astronauts – by enveloping junk in the Earth’s orbit and dragging it through the atmosphere, causing it to burn up. The Brane Craft, being developed by US-based Aerospace Corporation, is a flexible and less than half the thickness of a human hair.
  • The spacecraft is designed to be resilient. Its microprocessor and digital electronics are fabricated in a way to ensure that if one component gets damaged, the others will continue to work.
  • The project received funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which focuses on space research that are in early stages.
  • Brane Crafts will be powered by ultra-thin solar cells as well as a little bit of propellant.
  • After each Brane envelops a piece of space junk, it will navigate back to towards Earth, causing the junk to burn up in the atmosphere.