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

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


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 09 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.

Here are the text contents of the video:

SC issues contempt notice to HC judge

  • On 8 Feb 2017, Supreme Court has issued a Contempt of Court notice against a sitting High Court judge of the Calcutta High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan.
  • Notice issued for allegedly disgracing the judicial institution and impeding the course of justice administration.
  • He had sent “scurrilous” letters against sitting and retired High Court and Supreme Court judges. Made allegations of corruption and discrimination on caste basis.
  • The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognisance of Justice Karnan’s letters and conduct.
  • SC has asked him to refrain forthwith from undertaking any judicial or administrative work and return all his official files to the Calcutta High Court registry.
  • This action was taken by a 7-judge bench of SC comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justices Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph.
  • Justice Karnan has been directed to appear before SC on February 13 to defend himself in person.
  • Article 129 of Constitution (Article 142 also important):

129. Supreme Court to be a court of record.- The Supreme Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.”

  • Article 124(4) & Article 218 – for impeachment of SC & HC judges.
  • Impeachment proceedings have been initiated so far only against two judges:
  • Justice V. Ramaswamy, SC Judge (impeachment failed in 1993)
  • Justice Soumitra Sen, Calcutta HC Judge (resigned in 2011, when impeachment motion passed in Rajya Sabha)

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 6.25%

  • The Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI has decided to keep the key policy rate (repo rate) unchanged at 6.25%, citing uncertainties caused by demonetisation, which had “discoloured” an objective assessment of inflation pressures.
  • Repo rate: Repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Repo rate is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.
  • Reverse repo rate: It is the short term borrowing rate at which RBI borrows money from banks. The RBI uses this tool when it feels there is too much money floating in the banking system.

From March 13, no curbs on cash withdrawal: RBI

  • RBI will lift completely from March 13, 2017, the cash withdrawal limits imposed in the wake of the November 8 demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
  • From February 20, 2017, cash withdrawal limits for savings account holders will increase to ₹ 50,000 a week from the existing ₹ 24,000.
  • Notes in circulation, as on January 27, were ₹ 9.92 lakh crore, comprising all denominations.

Centre to install 150 quake sensors in Uttarakhand

  • On 6 Feb 2017, Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand registered a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.
  • A project to install 100-150 seismometers in the Garhwal-Kumaon region [the key region in the Himalayas and known to be seismically active] has been approved. Said V.K. Gahlaut, Director of the National Centre for Seismology.
  • This is to better understand the geology of the region and the evolution of Himalayan earthquakes.
  • The Richter scale is a system for measuring how strong an earthquake is. It was named after Charles F. Richter (1900–85), an American geologist.
  • It is a logarithmic scale, which, for example, implies that an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater than an earthquake that registered 4.0 at the same distance.
  • However, an earthquake of magnitude 5 releases 31.6 times as much energy as an earthquake of magnitude 4.

Compensation for Sardar Sarovar Project oustees

  • Supreme Court on 8 Feb 2017, gave its nod for the distribution of compensation among the oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh.
  • It ordered payment of ₨. 60 lakh to each of the families likely to be displaced.
  • This has been done to address the grievances of 681 such families.
  • The families will have to give an undertaking that they will vacate the land within a month, failing which the authorities will have the right to forcibly evict them
  • The SC withdrew its proposal to set up a committee of former Supreme Court judges to look into the compensation and rehabilitation issues

‘Setback’ to Gates Foundation in India

  • All financial ties between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) have been cut off by order of the Centre.
  • What is being considered as a loss of face for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), secretariat of the country’s apex immunisation advisory body is being ‘transitioned’ out to the Health Ministry.
  • The Gates Foundation-funded Immunization Technical Support Unit (ITSU) had so far served as the secretariat of NTAGI, which is the country’s apex immunisation advisory body and decides on vaccines that should become part of the government’s immunisation programme.
  • The Ministry, however, clarified that it would continue to collaborate with the Gates Foundation on immunisation policy and the National Health Mission.
  • The move has been welcomed by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which had lobbied for it.
  • It was alleged that the Gates Foundation has been influencing immunisation policies in India as it allegedly has financial ties with several pharmaceutical companies.
  • SJM had been demanding that the government should decide about the immunisation policy and not foreign agencies.
  • However, the Foundation maintained that it did not play any role on policy decision making pertaining to immunisation, which is the sole prerogative of the Indian government.

Centre not in favour of new law for CBI

  • The Central government has turned down the recommendation of a Parliamentary Committee to come up with a new law for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
  • At present, CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DSPE Act).
  • Centre said that a new law might impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution.
  • Govt said: “The subject of bringing a separate statute for the CBI has been considered and it has been concluded that the Constitution would require to be amended, which may also impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution and the mandate of Parliament to enact a law which would be in conflict with Entry 2 of List II which is in the domain of the States”.
  • CBI has powers in Union Teritorries. It can investigate cases in States with their consent or with orders of Supreme Court or High Courts.

US Bill seeks to cut legal immigrants by half

  • Two U.S. Senators have proposed legislation to cut the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. by half within a decade.
  • This could adversely hit those aspiring to get a green card or permanent residency in the U.S., including a large number of Indians.
  • The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (or RAISE Act), introduced by Republican Senator Tom Cotton and David Perdue from the Democratic party, would alter the U.S. immigration system to significantly reduce the number of foreigners admitted to the country without a skills-based visa.
  • The Bill proposed to reduce the number of green cards issued every year from currently about 1 million to half a million.
  • The Bill, however, does not focus on H-1B visas.

No U-turns on reconciliation: Sri Lanka

  • Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Mangala Samaraweera: A new Constitution is the most potent weapon for non-recurrence of Sri Lanka’s conflict and would have to be given priority over accountability mechanisms.
  • Sri Lanka has suffered a 26-year-long war and had seen enough violence and bigotry, and needed checks and balances to ensure that the road ahead is peaceful.
  • He assured that the government was committed to drafting a new Constitution that would pave the way for reconciliation among different communities.
  • The present Sri Lanka Constitution is in force since 7 September 1978. As of May 2015 it has been formally amended 19 times.
  • It declares Sri Lanka as Democratic Socialist Republic.
  • Its previous Constitution were those of 1948 and 1972.

Digital payment costs are a hindrance: TRAI

  • The surge in digital payments in the country, driven largely by short-term incentives, will become sustainable if the costs of making such payments are addressed.
  • This has been stated by Ram Sewak Sharma, chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
  • “If I have ₨ 100 in my pocket, I get ₨ 100 worth of goods. But if I have to pay somebody ₨ 1 or ₨ 2 for paying the same digitally, it’s not fair.”
  • Digital financial transactions are not sustainable unless you address the issues of cost, convenience and confidence.
  • My article (2 December 2016]: Government should start its own digital wallet for transactions without fee [http://tilakmarg.com/opinion/government-should-start-its-own-digital-wallet-for-transactions-without-fee/]

Cabinet nod for rural digital literacy programme

  • The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 8 Feb 2017, approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ or PMGDISHA to make six crore rural households digitally literate.
  • The outlay for the project is ₨ 2,351.38 crore.
  • The programme aims to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March 2019.
  • PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world.
  • As many as 25 lakh candidates will be trained in FY 2016-17, 275 lakh in FY 2017-18 and 300 lakh candidates in FY 2018-19.
  • Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones, etc.), send and receive emails, browse internet, access Government Services, search for information, undertaking cashless transactions, etc. and hence use IT to actively participate in the process of nation building.

Setting Up of New Atomic Power Plants – PIB

  • The Government has accorded ‘in principle’ approval for the following sites for setting up 4 reactors of 700 MW each at:
  • Gorakhpur in Haryana
  • Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan.
  • The Government has also accorded financial sanction for Units 1 & 2 at Gorakhpur (GHAVP 1&2-2×700 MW) and work on the project has commenced.
  • The nuclear power project at Gorakhpur, Haryana (GHAVP 1&2) is being set up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a Public Sector Enterprise under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

Uranium Reserves in Meghalaya – PIB

  • Uranium mineralization in Meghalaya has been found over a large area around Domiasiat, Wahkyn, Lostoin etc.
  • Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL) under Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has already made a plan to develop the mineral resources at Domiasiat under the name of “Kylleng Phendengsohiong Mawthabah (KPM) Uranium Mining Project”.
  • The project has the potential to generate substantial nuclear fuel for the atomic power plants of the country.

ISRO Rover on Lunar Surface

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to deploy a rover on the lunar surface in the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
  • Chandrayaan-2 is likely to be launched during the first quarter of 2018.
  • The Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an
    • Orbiter,
    • Lander, and
    • Rover
  • After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.
  • The six-wheeled Rover will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.
  • The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
  • However, collection of soil and rock sediments is not planned in this mission.

Gujarat becomes first State for Cashless System for distribution of foodgrains

  • Gujarat has become the first State in the country for establishing Cashless System for distribution of foodgrains.
  • It has installed Aadhaar Enabled Payment System in 17250 FPSs, much before the targeted date of 31st March, 2017.
  • The beneficiaries will need to carry only Aadhaar cards for getting their foodgrains in Gujarat.
  • This will help in establishing the identity of beneficiaries, help in stopping the leakages of grains at shop level and above all eradicate corruption in the Public Distribution System.



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