10 Feb 2017, News Analysis for UPSC & Other Exams, by Dr...

10 Feb 2017, News Analysis for UPSC & Other Exams, by Dr Ashok Dhamija

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This YouTube video discusses and explains the current affairs topics appearing the newspapers and media (such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times, Press Information Bureau, etc.) of 10 February 2017.

This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services). This lecture is also useful for aspirants of other competitive examinations, such as SSC, Bank PO, LIC, RBI Assistant, RBI Grade B, State Public Service Commission examinations like RPSC, UPPSC, MPSC, MPPSC, HCS, RAS, CLAT, Hotel Management entrance, BBA and several other examinations.

This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.

 

Contents of the above video:

India requests U.K. to extradite Vijay Mallya

  • India on 9 Feb 2017 sought extradition of absconding businessman Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom.
  • The government approached U.K. days after the CBI advised extradition of Vijay Mallya, who is wanted by a number of banks for defaulting on loans.
  • Mallya has defaulted in paying loans amounting to ₨ 9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 banks.
  • He had left India on March 2, 2016 for U.K. without meeting his legal and banking obligations.
  • India and U.K. have an extradition treaty which was signed on 22 September 1992, and which was notified by the Ministry of External Affairs on 30 December 1993.
  • As per this treaty, extradition is generally to be allowed in respect of an “extradition offence” which is defined in the treaty mainly as an offence which is constituted by conduct which under the laws of both the countries is punishable by at least one year’s imprisonment.
  • However, extradition may be refused if the offence of a political character.
  • Offences against Mallya include under Section 409 IPC (criminal breach of trust), for which the maximum punishment can even be life imprisonment. Therefore, he is involved in an “extradition offence”.

What is Extradition?

  • Extradition is the official process whereby one country transfers a suspected or convicted criminal to another country.
  • Between countries, extradition is normally regulated by treaties.
  • If the fugitive is found within the territory of the requested country, then the requested country may arrest him and subject him to its extradition process.
  • The extradition procedures to which the fugitive will be subjected are dependent on the law and practice of the requested country.
  • For example, in India, we have the Extradition Act, 1962, under which all requests received for extradition of persons by other countries are processed.

Gopal Ansal gets jail in Uphaar fire case

  • The Supreme Court, by a majority judgment of 2:1, decided to send real estate baron Gopal Ansal back to jail for negligence leading to the death of 59 people in the 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy case.
  • However, his elder brother Sushil Ansal has been spared from jail term due to his advanced age, he being in late seventies and having some ailments.
  • The majority decision came on separate review petitions filed by the CBI and the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy against a 2015 judgment of the Supreme Court which had allowed the Ansals to walk free after directing them to pay a total compensation of ₨ 60 crore.
  • Gopal Ansal has been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.
  • Uphaar theatre in Green Park area of New Delhi had become a death trap in 1997 during the screening of movie “Border”. Smoke from a fire in the theatre killed people as extra seats blocked exit routes in the cinema hall.

Aadhaar number mandatory for food subsidies

  • Proof of possession of ‘Aadhaar’ number will be mandatory to get subsidised food grains or cash transfer of food subsidy under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
  • The Consumer Affairs & Food Ministry issued a notification in this regard on 8 Feb 2017.
  • The notification under the Aadhaar Act requires individual beneficiaries having ration cards to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication to receive subsidies.
  • This condition will also be applicable for all new beneficiaries.
  • This notification shall come into effect from 08-02-2017 in all States and Union territories, except the States of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Beneficiaries under NFSA who do not possess the Aadhaar Number or are not yet enrolled for Aadhaar but are desirous of availing subsidies under NFSA are required to make application for Aadhaar enrolment by June 30, 2017.

Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016

Section 7. Proof of Aadhaar number necessary for receipt of certain subsidies, benefits and services, etc.- The Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government may, for the purpose of establishing identity of an individual as a condition for receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service for which the expenditure is incurred from, or the receipt therefrom forms part of, the Consolidated Fund of India, require that such individual undergo authentication, or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or in the case of an individual to whom no Aadhaar number has been assigned, such individual makes an application for enrolment:

Provided that if an Aadhaar number is not assigned to an individual, the individual shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidy, benefit or service.

India issues demarche to China on Azhar

  • India on 9 Feb 2017 issued a demarche to China on its blocking of a U.S.- backed proposal to ban Pathankot attack mastermind and JeM chief Masood Azhar by the U.N.
  • India’s sharp reaction came a day after China defended its decision to block the U.S.-initiated proposal in the U.N. for designating Azhar as a global terrorist, saying the “conditions” have not yet been met for Beijing to back the move.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry had said that China resorted to the move to allow the “relevant parties” to reach a consensus.
  • Indian hit out at China saying if there was a change in the Chinese position, there would be consensus.
  • External Afairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the matter had been taken up with the Chinese Ambassador.

What is Demarche?

  • In diplomatic terminology, “demarche” means a formal diplomatic representation (of the official position, views, or wishes on a given subject) from one government to another government or inter-governmental organization.
  • A diplomatic demarche is delivered to the appropriate official of the government or organization.
  • It generally seeks to persuade, inform, or gather information from a foreign government.
  • Governments may also use a demarche to protest or object to actions by a foreign government.

India rejects report of U.S. faith panel

  • India rejected criticism from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that religious minorities in the country continued to face vigilantism and constitutional challenges.
  • External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the USCIRF had no locus standi to assess religious freedom in India.
  • He said India has serious doubts on their credibility.
  • USCIRF had made available an online report titled: “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India” .
  • The report had referred to the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq in September 2015 over beef eating.
  • It further criticised the Indian Constitution for giving favourable treatment to the majority Hindu community and curtailing the unique identity of the minority groups.
  • It had also criticized “Gau Raksha Dal” (Cow Protection Front), across India.
  • Indian has said that USCIRF has no right to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

Indian and U.S. agree to boost defence partnership

  • Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the U.S. Defence Secretary, James Mattis, agreed to expand cooperation in defence.
  • During telephone conversation, they discussed cooperation under the Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) and the Major Defence Partner status, and agreed to take forward the joint development of defence platforms.
  • Mattis committed to build upon the tremendous progress in bilateral defence cooperation made in recent years, underscoring the strategic importance of the U.S.-India relationship and India’s role in advancing global peace and security.
  • This is the first high-level contact between the defence departments of India and the U.S. since President Donald Trump took charge.

House of Commons in Britain passes Brexit Bill

  • The British government is on track to trigger the Brexit process by the end of March, after the legislation authorising the government to start negotiations with the EU was passed by the House of Commons without any amendments.
  • The legislation will now go to the House of Lords for passing it.
  • This Bill was introduced in British Parliament, since the UK Supreme Court had recently held that it was necessary for the UK Government to get approval from the Parliament for Brexit negotiations with the EU.

India building secret nuke city: Pak

  • Pakistan accused India of accumulating a stockpile of nuclear weapons and building a ‘secret nuclear city’.
  • Pak claimed that it threatens to undermine the strategic balance of power in South Asia.
  • Pakistan quoted reports stating that India had sufficient material and technical capacity to produce between 356 and 492 nuclear bombs.
  • India, however, dismissed the Pakistani allegations as “baseless”.
  • “These are completely baseless allegations. The so-called secret nuclear city is a figment of Pakistan’s imagination,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Centre to raise EPFO’s equity investments to 15%

  • The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) will increase its equity investments to 15% of its incremental corpus in the next fiscal year, from 10% at present, Union Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said.
  • “The EPFO had increased investments in exchange traded funds (ETF) from 5% to 10% of its corpus. We are now thinking of increasing it to 15% in the next financial year. We have invested around ₨ 17,000 crore in ETFs so far,” Mr. Dattatreya said.
  • There is a pressure on EPFO to maintain its interest rates paid to its members, due to falling rates.

Electoral bond purchaser’s name protected by bank confidentiality

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that there should be no fear of disclosure of names of those buying electoral bonds since banking confidentiality laws state that banks cannot divulge account details to the government or even to the courts.
  • He had announced Electoral bonds in his 2017 Union Budget.

Govt. appoints 3 directors to RBI Central Board

  • The Centre has appointed three part-time non-official directors on the Reserve Bank of India’s Central Board for a four-year term. They are:
  • Rajiv Kumar (economist),
  • Ashok Gulati (former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices)
  • Shri Manish Sabharwal (chairman and co-founder of recruitment consultancy TeamLease).
  • RBI’s affairs are governed by the Central Board of Directors.
  • The board is appointed by the government.
  • There are 5 Official Directors — the Governor and not more than four Deputy Governors.
  • Besides, the government nominates 16 Non-Official Directors. 10 are nominated from different fields, 2 are government officials and 1 director each from the four local boards.
  • There were 10 members on the Board at the time of approving demonetisation, seven of which attended the board meeting to decide on November 8.
  • In addition, 11 member on RBI board was appointed recently as Dy. Governor Viral Acharya.

Centre to send experts to expedite talks at WTO

  • The Centre will send an expert team to the World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva next month to ensure that negotiations on food security issues and the proposed global services pact are expedited, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
  • This development follows Ms. Sitharaman’s meeting with WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, who is on a two-day visit to India.

SEBI to form panel to facilitate crowd-funding

  • The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is forming an advisory committee on financial technology related issues, which would look at safeguards that can be put in place to facilitate crowdfunding of ‘genuine’ ventures and mobilise more household savings into the financial markets.
  • SEBI chairman U.K. Sinha felt that people are ready to invest, but issues related to convenience are holding them back, such as getting KYC done.
  • The advisory committee will also examine the best way forward to facilitate crowdfunding of “genuine” ventures.
  • SEBI has concerns about letting anonymous entities raise funds without any safeguards.
  • SEBI feels business entities raising money without any due diligence entails risks.

What is Crowdfunding?

  • It is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.

 

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