Current Affairs Current Affairs - 7 October 2015 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 7 October 2015

General Affairs

Calcutta High Court Expresses Displeasure at Holding of Political Rallies on Weekdays
  • BJP Chief Amit Shah Booked for 'Chara Chor' Barb Against Lalu PrasadKOLKATA, WEST BENGAL:  The Calcutta High Court today expressed displeasure at holding of rallies in the central district of the metropolis on weekdays blocking traffic and directed all political parties to be represented before it on November 27.

    A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi, directed West Bengal government to post advertisements in newspapers by November 19 in this regard.

    An advocate had moved a petition before the high court seeking a ban on rallies in the central business district on weekdays.

    The court had directed the petitioner to serve notice to all political parties to be represented before it today.

    However, none of the parties was represented before the court.

    Petitioner Akshay Sarangi told the court that he had served notice on 30 political outfits in the state.

    The bench then directed the state to publish advertisements asking the parties to be represented on November 27.

      Congress Lawmaker Among 50 Arrested For Varanasi Violence
      • Congress Lawmaker Among 50 Arrested For Varanasi ViolenceVARANASI:  A Congress lawmaker, Ajay Rai, was among the 50 people arrested for Monday's violence during a protest march in Varanasi - the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Around 100 people have been named in the First Information report, or FIR.

        Police said Mr Rai had taken part in the Prateekar rally, organised as a mark of solidarity against the action on protesters who were opposing the ban on immersion of Ganesha idols in Ganga.

        Security forces are combing the affected areas since last night, when protesters went on a rampage, pelting stones and setting a fire at least four police vehicles, booths, nearly half-a-dozen motorcycles and some shops. They even hurled crude bombs; 25 people, including eight policemen, were injured in the violence. The police resorted to lathicharge and used tear gas to disperse the mob.

        This morning, schools and colleges remained closed following a direction by top district officials. Traffic was thin and only a few tourists were visible in the Godowlia area, which was hit by violence.

        Lawyers at the district court also boycotted work for the second day in protest against the lathicharge on sadhus and locals on the night of September 22, when they were staging a dharna at Godowlia crossing over idol immersion issue.

        Godowlia crossing is the road leading to the ancient Dashashwamedh ghat, which is visited by a number of domestic and foreign tourists.

      Won't Support Any Accused, Says BJP's Sangeet Som on Dadri Killing

      • Won't Support Any Accused, Says BJP's Sangeet Som on Dadri KillingNEW DELHI:  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Sangeet Som today said he would not support any accused, if proved guilty, but fight for anyone wrongly framed by the administration.

        "I won't support any accused (if proved) but will fight for them if they are framed (wrongly) by the administration," said the BJP lawmaker and a Muzaffarnagar riots-accused.

        "We don't want that those guilty of murder should not be tried but the government should stop framing the innocent," he added.

        On Monday, Mr Som said: "Murder cases are on the rise in the state but is the government acting in the same manner in those cases? Are terrorists living here? Police should make arrests only after completing the investigation."

        Last week while visiting Dadri, Mr Som had said, "Families that indulged in cow slaughter are given protection. The UP government is taking one-sided action."

        During an interview, Mr Som said, "Those who slaughter cows in Uttar Pradesh should be dealt with strictly".

        While taking pot-shots at the Akhilesh Yadav-led government in Uttar Pradesh, he said, "The government is trying to put blame on BJP for the situation in Dadri."

        "Dadri incident has nothing to do with politics. It is a general crime...not a communal crime," he added.

        Meanwhile, police are likely to take action against BJP leader Som, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui for violating prohibitory orders in Dadri area.

        Police have submitted a report in which he named Assaduddin Owaisi, Naseemuddin Siddqui, Sangeet Som and Hindu Raksha Dal for violating Section 144 of CrPC.

        Leaders across political lines are visiting Bisada village following the mob lynching incident.

        On September 28, Akhlaq, a resident of Bisara village of Dadri in Greater Noida near Delhi, was dragged out of his home and lynched following rumours that he ate beef.

        His family denied the allegations.

        Mr Akhlaq's 21-year-old son Danish was also left critically injured. He is recuperating in hospital.


      Centre Issues Guidelines for Giving Replies Under Right to Information Act
      • Centre Issues Guidelines for Giving Replies Under Right to Information ActNEW DELHI:  All ministries were today asked to clearly mention detailed reasons for denial of information sought by people under the Right To Information (RTI) Act by the Centre. They have also been told to cite relevant sections of the RTI Act while denying information under the transparency law.

        It has been observed that different public authorities provide information to RTI applicants in different formats. Though there cannot be a standard format for providing information, the reply should however essentially contain the name, designation, official telephone number and email ID of the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), said the guidelines issued by Department of Personnel and Training.

        "In the concluding para of the reply, it should be clearly mentioned that the First Appeal, if any, against the reply of the CPIO may be made to the First Appellate Authority within 30 days of receipt of reply of CPIO," it said.

        The name, designation, address, official telephone number and e-mail ID of the First Appellate Authority should also be clearly mentioned," the guidelines said.

        In addition, wherever the applicant has requested for "certified copies" of the document or records, the CPIO should endorse on the document "True copy of the document or record supplied under RTI Act", sign the document with date, above a seal containing name of the officer, CPIO and name of public authority, it said.

        "Further in case the documents to be certified and supplied is large in number, information on RTI application should be supplied by a designated PIO but the certification of the documents, if need be, could be done by another junior gazetted officer," said the guidelines issued by the DoPT, which acts as nodal authority for implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

        The RTI Act allows a citizen to seek time-bound reply on governance-related matters from government departments. 

      Vinay Mohan Kwatra Appointed Officer on Special Duty in Prime Minister's Office

      • Vinay Mohan Kwatra Appointed Officer on Special Duty in Prime Minister's OfficeNEW DELHI:  Vinay Mohan Kwatra was today appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for three years. The 1988 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer is presently working as Joint Secretary in Americas or AMS division in External Affairs Ministry.

        He will be replacing IFS officer Jawed Ashraf in the PMO.

        The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr Kwatra as OSD in the PMO.

        "In order to facilitate an overlap for smooth assumption of charge, Mr Kwatra may be asked to report in PMO with immediate effect in order to familiarise himself with the work before Ashraf relinquishes charge," an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

        The ACC approved that Cabinet Secretary may assess the suitability of Mr Kwatra to hold a Joint Secretary-level post in Government of India expeditiously, it said.

        It approved that Mr Kwatra be designated as Joint Secretary (JS) in the Prime Minister's Office after his empanelment to hold the same level post in Government of India, the order said.

        The ACC has asked the DoPT to shift one vacant post of Director under it to the PMO and temporary up-gradate it to the Joint Secretary-level till a regular JS-level vacancy arises in PMO, it said.

        Mr Ashraf currently looks after the work related to External Affairs, space, atomic energy, overseas Indian affairs, defence, NTRO and monitoring of PM's visit abroad, among others.

      Business Affairs 

      IMF says growth favourable in India, reforms needed
      • Growth favourable in India, reforms needed:IMFGrowth prospects for India remain favourable despite a slowdown in the global economy, but the government should speed up structural reforms and relax supply constraints in the energy, mining, and power sectors, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.
        The Washington-based Fund marginally lowered India's growth forecast to 7.3 percent this year, from its earlier estimate of 7.5 per cent, and said that a faster-than-expected deceleration in inflation provides leeway for modest cuts in interest rates.
        "India is still a bright spot but that's partly because the other emerging markets are not so bright," Thomas Richardson, the IMF's resident representative in India, told Reuters as the Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook.
        Last month, the Reserve Bank of India cut its policy interest rate by a bigger-than-expected 50 basis points to a 4-1/2 year low of 6.75 per cent, front-loading monetary easing in an effort to stoke a slowing economy.
        Since being battered by emerging market turmoil in 2013, India has brought down inflation and narrowed its external deficits.
        But, with government borrowing high, the IMF says India should reform taxes and trim subsidies to narrow its budget deficit.
        "Of the three fragile legs, two are now solid. The leg that is still fragile is the fiscal one," Richardson said.
        Finance Minister Arun Jaitley aims to cut the fiscal deficit to 3.9 per cent of gross domestic product in the current fiscal year ending March, and to 3.6 per cent of GDP in the 2016/17 fiscal year.
        In the past, the country has met deficit targets through spending cuts that have undermined economic growth.
        India expects the costs of major subsidies including oil, fertilisers and food grain to fall to 1.6 per cent of GDP in 2015/16 from 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2012/13, mainly as falling global commodity prices have let the government end diesel subsidies.
        India should enhance financial sector regulation and efforts should be made to recover bad loans in the banking sector, the Fund said.
        In order to boost investment, India needs to prioritise market-based pricing of natural resources and address delays in implementation of infrastructure projects, it said.
        Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working on a fiscal package to revive power utilities, as the nearly Rs 4 trillion ($61.20 billion) that the state-run power distribution companies owe banks poses economic risk.
        The Fund lowered its global growth forecast for 2015 to 3.1 per cent, 0.3 percentage point lower than in 2014, and 0.2 percentage point below its forecasts in the July 2015 World Economic Outlook.

      BSE Sensex ends 147 points up, NSE Nifty a tad above 8,150
      • Sensex ends 147 points up, Nifty a tad above 8,150Extending gains for the fifth consecutive session, the S&P BSE Sensex ended the day 147 points higher at 26,932 after regaining its crucial level of 27,000 in the early trade, while the broader 50-share Nifty index settled at 8,152, up 33 points.   
        Gains were however muted as benchmark indexes saw technical resistance at their respective 200-day exponential moving average while profit-taking after four consecutive days of gains also weighed.
        Caution will prevail in the markets going ahead as Infosys is due to post its July-September results on October 12, unofficially kicking off the earnings reporting season.
        "Follow up buying is somewhat missing after recent swift moves. The trend remains positive," said Deven Choksey, managing director at K R Choksey Securities.
        Most Asian markets traded with gains. Japan's Nikkei ended the day higher by 1 per cent while the South Korean Kospi closed with gains of 0.6 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was trading with mild losses. Chinese market remain close for the day on account of public holiday.
        The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.85 per cent higher in Monday's trade on speculations that disappointing economic data might push the Federal Reserve to delay any plans to hike interest rates until December.

            PM Narendra Modi says govt hopes to roll out GST in 2016
            • PM Narendra ModiThe government hopes to roll out a new goods and services tax (GST) in 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday in a speech to Indian and German businesses that played up the attractiveness of investing in Asia's third-largest economy.
              The GST, currently blocked in Parliament, was one of a range of business-friendly measures highlighted by Modi in a speech in tech hub Bengaluru, during a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
              Modi also said his government was speeding up regulatory clearances, reducing licensing requirements in the defence sector and making tax policy more consistent.
              "We have articulated very clearly that we will not resort to retrospective taxation," Modi said.

            Service sector output sluggish in September, says Nikkei PMI
            • Nikkei survey said that manufacturing and service sectors witnessed sluggish rise amid softer demand conditions.Growth in India's private sector output "faded" in September as both manufacturing and service sectors witnessed sluggish rise amid softer demand conditions across the country, a Nikkei survey said.
              The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index - that maps both the manufacturing and services sectors - fell from 52.6 in August to 51.5 in September, highlighting the weakest rate of expansion in the current period of growth.
              Meanwhile, the Nikkei Business Activity Index, also fell from 51.8 in August to 51.3 in September as "tough economic conditions weighed on growth", the survey showed.
              A reading below 50 means contraction in the sector.
              "India's economy lost steam in September with growth fading across both the manufacturing and service sectors. The sluggish increase in private sector output mirrored softer demand conditions across the country, while growth of global demand for Indian goods also moderated," Pollyanna De Lima Economist at Markit, which compiles the survey said.
              Meanwhile, according to an earlier Nikkei survey, the factory output for September had dropped to a seven-month low.
              On the inflation front, Nikkei said that price pressures "dissipated" in September.
              "Lower commodity prices coupled with falling petrol costs resulted in an overall drop in average input prices. On the back of this, businesses lowered their tariffs," Lima added.
              Meanwhile, as a consequence of the slowdown, private sector employment was broadly unchanged as service providers maintained employment levels steady in September.
              "Looking ahead, service providers expect further setbacks, as highlighted by the Future Output Index sliding to its lowest mark in the history of the series," Lima added.
              On Reserve Bank's policy rates, Lima said the bank "continued its attempt to shift India's growth momentum into a higher gear."
              Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan , on September 29, effected a more-than-expected interest rate cut of half a per cent to boost the economy.
              Moreover, the RBI also lowered its economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.4 per cent from its previous projection of 7.6 per cent.
              The April-June quarter GDP slipped to 7 per cent from 7.5 per cent in the preceding quarter.

                    India may become leading emitter as it aims to double coal output by 2020
                    • India is opening a mine a month as it races to double coal output by 2020Deep in the thickly forested hills in its east, India last month started production at what it hopes will in five years be Asia's biggest coal mine.
                      At the open-cast mine, which involves the clearing of more than 18,000 hectares (44,500 acres) of land, noisy excavators are busy digging for coal that will feed a huge power plant being built nearby to fuel India's energy-hungry economy.
                      India is opening a mine a month as it races to double coal output by 2020, putting the world's third-largest polluter at the forefront of a pan-Asian dash to burn more of the dirty fossil fuel that environmentalists fear will upend international efforts to contain global warming.
                      Close to 200 nations are set to meet at a United Nations summit from November 30 to December 11 to hammer out a deal to slow man-made climate change by weaning countries off fossil fuels.
                      China has promised to restrict public funding for coal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trumpeting investment in renewable energy, but in Asia's biggest economies the reality is that coal is still regarded as the easiest source of energy.
                      "Environment is non-negotiable but we can't live without coal. You can't wish away coal," said Anil Swarup, the top official in the coal ministry, who is leading the push to open new mines like Magadh, in poor but resource-rich Jharkhand state.
                      "There is a temporary drop in demand, but no question of reducing coal output. We are well short of coal required in the country."
                      ASIA KEEPS DIGGING
                      China, India and Indonesia now burn 71 per cent of the world's newly mined coal according to the World Coal Association, with new European and North American consumption negligible as their countries turn to cleaner energy.
                      Other Asian nations are increasingly looking to coal to power their economies too, with Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam opening new plants, pushing the Asia-Pacific region to 80 per cent of new coal plants.
                      "Coal is still the most cost competitive power generation fuel, and in the end that's what matters most for emerging markets," said Frederic Neumann, Co-Head Of Asian Economic Research at HSBC in Hong Kong.
                      Asia's developed nations, too, are finding it hard to kick the coal habit.
                      Japan's use has reached a record after shrinking its nuclear industry and it plans to build another 41 new coal-fired units over the next decade.
                      Australia's exports of thermal coal rose 5 per cent to 205 million tonnes in the last financial year and are to increase by a further 1 million tonnes this year, driven by increased demand from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
                      The rush to burn more coal comes as the world's major economies, including leading emitters China and the United States, have agreed to start cutting greenhouse gases over the next 15 years ahead of the UN climate change summit in Paris.
                      India has rejected any absolute cuts, arguing that its per capita emissions are far below the world average and that it needs to emit more as it grows to beat poverty.
                      In a climate-change policy statement released last week, the government promised to slow the rate at which its greenhouse gas emissions rise by a third by 2030 .
                      Coal will remain the dominant source of its energy for decades, the country said, but it pledged to invest in cleaner coal technology, modernise old power stations and plant trees to absorb up to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
                      THE NEW CHINA?
                      Magadh mine is the biggest of the many that the government will open to hit an annual coal target of 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020, raising its production above the United States but less than half the amount China currently burns.
                      Some 20 km from Magadh, along a bumpy track through mud-hut villages, lies a second vast coal pit launched last year. By 2018 another two mines will open nearby - combined, the mines in this one district alone will at peak generate as much coal as Poland, the world's ninth largest producer, delivered last year.
                      The United Nations has agreed a goal of keeping warming below a ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impact of climate change including more droughts, extinctions, floods and rising seas.
                      Sticking to that goal would require world emissions to start falling now and India's to peak within a few years, said Glen Peters at the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, but the nation's coal drive makes that near-impossible as its extra emissions outweigh any savings from more solar and wind power.
                      Because of its low-quality, twice as much Indian coal is needed to produce the same amount of energy as the best Australian coal.
                      If India burns as much coal by 2020 as planned, its emissions could as much as double to 5.2 billion tonnes per annum - about a sixth of all the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere last year - Peters said.
                      That would see India follow a similar path to China whose emissions, after growing slowly at the turn of the century, jumped when dozens of new coal power plants came on line.
                      "If these coal targets are met, there could be a turn (in India's emissions), with a steep increase. China is starting to stumble; India could replace that," said Peters.
                      He said that India could replace the United States as the world's second largest emitter by 2025. "This is something no one would have expected."

                        General Awareness

                        Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015

                          • On 5th October 2015 Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine has announced the winners.The recipients of the award are :

                        One half of the award is jointly given to William C Campbell and Satoshi Omura.Other half of the award is given to Youyou TU

                          • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015
                            The details are given below:

                        Work of  William C Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura

                          • Ōmura isolated new strains of Streptomyces( known to produce a plethora of agents with antibacterial activities ) from soil samples and successfully cultured them in the laboratory.William C. Campbell, collected  Ōmura’s Streptomyces cultures and examined their efficacy. Campbell showed that a component from one of the cultures was remarkably efficient against parasites in domestic and farm animals. The bioactive agent was purified and named Avermectin, which was subsequently chemically modified to a more effective compound called Ivermectin.Ivermectin tested in humans with parasitic infections and effectively killed parasite larvae.Conjointly their contributions led to the discovery of a new class of drugs with extraordinary efficacy against parasitic diseases.
                            Discovery : A novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

                        Newly discovered drug :Avermectin

                          • Avermectin, the derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, as well as showing efficacy against an expanding number of other parasitic diseases.

                        Work of Youyou TU

                          • Youyou Tu turned to traditional herbal medicine to tackle the challenge of developing novel Malaria therapies. From a large-scale screen ,an extract from the plant Artemisia annua emerged as an interesting suitor.However, the results were uncertain, so Tu revisited the ancient literature and discovered clues that guided her in hunt to successfully extract the active component from Artemisia annua. Tu was the first to show that this component, later called Artemisinin, was highly effective against the Malaria parasite, both in infected animals and in humans.Artemisinin represents a new class of antimalarial agents that rapidly kill the Malaria parasites at an early stage of their development, which explains its unprecedented potency in the treatment of severe Malaria.

                        Discovery : A novel therapy for malaria.
                        Newly discovered drug : Artemisinin

                          • Artemisinin  significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from Malaria.

                        Personal Details :

                          • William C. Campbell :
                            Born in 1930 in Ramelton, Ireland.He  is currently a Research Fellow Emeritus at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, USA.
                            Satoshi Ōmura
                            Born in 1935 in , Japan . From 2007onwards, Satoshi Ōmura has been Professor Emeritus at Kitasato University.
                            Youyou Tu
                            Born in 1930 in China.From 2000 onwards , Tu has been Chief Professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  

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