Current Affairs August 2016 - Vikalp Education

Online Vikalp, Current Affairs, Current Awareness, General Awareness, Aptitude Classes, Daily News, General Knowledge, General Awareness For All Competitive Exam, current affairs quiz,current affairs in india, current affairs about sports, current affairs and gk, current affairs about india, current affairs daily quiz, current affairs dairy, current affairs education, Top News, Breaking News, Latest News

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Current Affairs - 31 August 2016

by , in

General Affairs 

In Washington, Defence Minister Parrikar Talks Terror, Targets Pakistan
  • WASHINGTON:  Countering terrorism is an important common objective shared by both India and the US, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in Washington today.

    "We resolved to continue our cooperation on counter-terrorism; our open and diverse societies are committed to peace. However, as the US has shown, there can be no compromise when are faced with terrorism," Mr Parrikar said.

    The Indian defence minister also appreciated American support in efforts to eliminate terrorism in India's neighborhood.

    "The forces that seek to undermine our progress and our ways of life require our comprehensive and robust response. We appreciate the support from US in our efforts to eliminate terrorism in India's neighborhood," Mr Parrikar added.

    Standing alongside Mr Parrikar, United States Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter said that not only Indian civilians but its military also has been a victim of terrorism, in an apparent reference to terrorist attack in Pathankot earlier this year.

    "Terrorism is one of the many missions on which we cooperate. We oppose terrorism affecting anyone and us. That's certainly true with respect to terrorist acts perpetrated against Indian people, and also I should mention, the Indian military, which has happened as well," Mr Carter said.


    In the joint statement issued after the meeting between Mr Parrikar and Mr Carter, the two agreed to facilitate greater and regular interactions to deepen cooperation in areas such a counter-terrorism, special operations, and maritime security.

    "We and India share the principled view that in matters of freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation, as in so many other matters. States need to take a principled view where abiding by the rule of law and pursuing disputes peacefully is fundamental," Mr Carter said.

Rethink, Softening Likely On Bill To Regulate Celebrity Endorsements
  • NEW DELHI:   It's the business of celebrities - the colossal endorsement deals that signal the accomplishment of stardom.  

    From the bigger things in life - what airline to fly, which apartment to buy, what car to drive - to the more personal (think Deepika Padukone positively basking in the delight of shaving in an ad with lots of serene blue), Bollywood stars are great at telling you what to spend your money on.

    So what if what they're selling turns out to be a dud? A group of ministers has decided to put on hold a new proposal that decrees a maximum punishment of five years in jail and a fine of 50 lakhs for celebrities appearing in misleading ads.

    The recommendations from a parliamentary committee will not be further discussed till parliament meets next in the winter, said sources who attended today's review at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's office.

    "It was decided that the government will study the best practices across the globe. These will be incorporated in the bill," said Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

    The group of ministers handling the proposal will make changes and submit the draft legislation for the cabinet's scrutiny in the winter, after which the final version will be given to parliament for approval.


    Sources said the Finance Minister indicated that the current penalties offered in the draft are too harsh and a "certain amount of logical moderation" is essential.

    "If this bill is cleared in this form, the likes of PV Sindhu will be fighting hundreds of cases in courts," said a minister, referring to the badminton champ who won a silver for India at the Rio Olympics.

    Deliberations will continue on what defines an endorsement by a celebrity and how they should be held liable for ads that misrepresent the scope of a product, as also for products that are found to be adulterated.

400 Files Of AAP Government To Be Examined For Violations, Says Lt Governor
  • NEW DELHI:  Arvind Kejriwal today alleged "witch-hunting" as Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung ordered a review of 400 files of decisions by his government, saying they contain "infirmities and irregularities".

    Former auditor VK Shunglu, former vigilance chief Pradeep Kumar and former election commission N Gopalasami have been asked to examine the files and report in six months.

    "The committee will look into omissions or commissions, as also fix responsibility of individuals, including civil and criminal liability, if any," said a statement from Mr Jung's office.

    "This is witch hunting. Like they arrested (AAP) MLAs on false cases, they will victimize officers now," tweeted Mr Kejriwal.

    "Let an independent three-member committee scrutinize all files cleared by (Prime Minister) Modiji also and let's compare the results," added the chief minister.

    This is the latest spin-off of the Delhi High Court ruling earlier this month which said that the Lieutenant Governor is the administrative head of Delhi and the state government needs to consult him for its decisions.

    After the ruling, Mr Jung asked officers to submit examples of the Kejriwal government failing to request his sign off on decisions even though it was required to.


    "On preliminary scrutiny of these files, it is found that over the last one and half years several decisions taken are in violation of Acts/Rules with attendant legal and financial implications," Mr Jung's office said.

    Mr Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party allege that the ruling BJP, which lost the Delhi election, has repeatedly overruled and harassed an elected government.

    Earlier today, Mr Kejriwal posted a series of tweets accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being "hell-bent on destroying Delhi". The Chief Minister is seething over the recent transfer of officers by the Lieutenant Governor.

    Since AAP came to power last year, there has been a constant tussle between the central and state governments over who controls Delhi. Bolstered by the court order, the Lieutenant Governor last week instructed that all transfers or postings of officers should be placed before him.

In Patel Territory, PM Modi Reaches Out To Farmers And Talks Growth
  • AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on farmers and told the growth story at a public rally today in Jamnagar, his first in home state Gujarat since he took office in Delhi two years ago.

    "Gujarat has adopted the Mantra of Vikas. This mantra will transform the state," the Prime Minister said, speaking in Gujarati and detailing his government's initiatives for farmers.

    He had taken to Delhi what he learnt in Gujarat, said Prime Minister Modi, who was the state's chief minister for 13 years till he became PM after leading the BJP to a sweep of the 2014 national election.

    Today, he was in Gujarat's Saurashtra region, dominated by Patels or Patidars, but PM Modi made no reference to the community's massive agitation for reservation in government jobs and colleges.

    Some people among the thousands at the rally attempted to raise pro-Patel slogans, but they were swiftly removed by the police.  

    A staunch BJP support base for years, the Patels have put the party's government in Gujarat on notice over their demand ahead of next year's assembly elections, expected to be the toughest battle the BJP has faced in the state in years.

    Because of bad weather, the prime minister traveled by road, not chopper, from the Jamnagar airport to the venue about 50 km away, to inaugurate an irrigation project for Saurashtra, which faces an acute shortage of water for drinking and irrigation.


    "Give a farmer from any part of India water and see the wonders he can do," said the Prime Minister.  

    As it grapples with not just the Patel agitation but also one by the state's Dalits angered by the brutal beating of four young men last month by cow vigilantes in Una, the BJP hopes the Prime Minister's rally will rejuvenate party cadre ahead of the Gujarat election late next year.

    Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was present today, as was his predecessor Anandiben Patel who resigned last month amid allegations that she mishandled the Patel and Dalit agitations in the state, weakening the political position of the BJP.

India Should Focus On Low End Manufacturing: Chinese Media
  • BEIJING:  India should shift focus to low end manufacturing like China to take full advantage of its demographic dividend to avert an unemployment crisis, a state run Chinese daily said.

    "China lifted millions of people out of poverty in the last three decades by focusing on developing its own manufacturing industry", an article in the state-run Global Times said.

    "Whether India's fast pace of growth can persist depends on how quickly it realises that the feasible route to inclusive growth is not by skipping past industrialisation but by relying on the manufacturing industry to create more jobs, reduce poverty and create a middle class that can drive consumption," it said.

    Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party's media wing, People's Daily media.

    "Such urgency has been raised because there is skepticism about whether India can efficiently utilise its demographic dividend - the country is set to have the world's largest working-age population by 2020," the newspaper said.

    China managed to help millions out of poverty by focusing on manufacturing to help create a large middle class that also drives the demand for its products. Comparisons between the economic models of India and China are frequently made by economists to draw out the difference between manufacturing led growth and service sector led growth, the Chinese paper said.


    "There has long been a myth in India that the world's fastest growing economy could skip being a manufacturing base, and move directly into a sustainable growth model relying only on services." the newspaper said calling the conception "wrong and dangerous."

    Citing research reports it said the services sector absorbs only about a quarter of the labor force in India despite the fact that it accounts for more than half of GDP. 

Business Affairs 

Sensex ends 440 points higher to hit fresh 52-week high, Nifty closes at 8,744 on positive global cues
  • The S&P BSE Sensex on Tuesday rallied 440 points to hit fresh 52-week high, while the broader Nifty50 settled the day above 8,740-mark, the highest since April 2015.
    The headline indices advanced tracking Asian shares, which bounced as doubts the Federal Reserve really would hike interest rates as soon as September restrained the dollar, while investors continued to count on more policy stimulus elsewhere in the world.

    Gains in auto and financial stocks and a slew of positive results including from property firm DLF also lifted sentiment.
    The 30-share index ended the day at 28,343, up 440.35 points, while broad-based 50-share index quoted 8,744, up 36.90 points at close.
    "I think that the market is in a narrow trading range from 8,500-8,800. There will be fresh buys when the index comes down to 8,500 and profit-booking when the index hits the 8,800-point mark," said RK Gupta, managing director of Taurus Asset Management. 
    Asian Paints was the top mover on the Sensex and surged 3.20 per cent on the BSE.
    Property-developer DLF was up as much as 3.2 per cent after saying net profit more than doubled in the June-quarter, while Indian Oil Corp rose as much as 1.62 percent after posting a 25 per cent increase in profit for the June-quarter.
    Auto makers also got a boost on hopes of a sales rebound, with Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto rising as much as 3.6 per cent and 3.8 per cent to hit record highs.

      Why proposed September 2 strike may bring country to a standstill
      • More than a million workers in banking, telecom and other sectors will go on strike on Friday, seeking higher wages and to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's labour reforms and a plan to close some loss-making firms.
        10 trade unions including the All India Trade Unions Congress and Centre of Indian Trade Unions rejected a government appeal on Tuesday to call off the strike, saying it failed to address their demands.
        These unions claim a combined membership of 15 crore workers in public and private sector enterprises, including banks and insurance companies.
        The RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has, however, decided to keep away from the strike.
        Since taking charge in May 2014, Modi has implemented a raft of economic reforms and is trying to ease labour laws to attract foreign investment and make it easier to do business in the country.
        The government aims to raise Rs 56,000 crore ($8.35 billion) through privatisation this fiscal year, and shut down some companies. Losses at 77 state-run companies exceeded $4 billion in the last fiscal year.
        Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Centre of Trade Unions, said there had not been any "tangible proactive steps" by the government to address union demands such as a rollback of privatisation in sectors like defence and railways, and an increase in minimum wages.
        He said the strike would go on despite Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's promise on Tuesday that the government would release state employees' bonuses for the last two years, and increase minimum wages for unskilled labourers.
        The unions also oppose a government directive to state-run pension funds to put more money into stock markets.
        Some workers at Coal India Ltd are due to join the strike but company officials said they did not expect any shortfall in supplies for power companies as there was an oversupply of the fuel.
        The Reserve Bank of India workers and employees have also decided to join the September 2 strike. All India Reserve Bank Employees' Association (AIRBEA) and All India Reserve Bank Workers' Federation in a joint statement said: "Reserve Bank employees all over the country will participate in September 2 industrial strike in support of the demands of the country's working class."
        On March 30, central trade unions including INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, among others, had given a call for a day-long nationwide strike on September 2 to protest against the Modi government's "unilateral labour reforms and anti-worker policies". Nearly 5 lakh other bank union workers and officers are set to join the strike.

        Airtel, Vodafone, Idea cut tariff, bundle plans ahead of Jio entry

        • As Reliance Jio's commercial launch nears, incumbent telecom operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have cut tariff and bundled free calls with data to drive mass market adoption, brokerages said.
          The industry has been trying various data pricing strategies, with Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea trying innovative price structures.
          Market leader Bharti Airtel yesterday announced two plans with data tariffs effectively lower by an eye-catching '80 per cent'.
          But the Rs 51 per GB data versus industry norm of Rs 250-plus comes with the caveat of an upfront payment of Rs 1,498 for a year. This essentially translates into 30 per cent saving for someone using 1 GB per month data and 37 per cent for 2 GB a month users.
          "In the past, 'high upfront charge, low recurring recharge' kind of plans have rarely found mass market appeal, more so when the benefit is spread out over a year. So we conclude that the addressable market for tariff cut plan appears quite small," Credit Suisse said.
          UBS said Airtel, Idea and Vodafone have all increased data quotas on prepaid internet packs. "Our back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest mega saver packs are 35-40 per cent further cheaper than the traditional plans. We expect strong data traffic to compensate for declining data realisations," it said.
          The entry of RJio, it said, will further accelerate data adoption with affordable 4G handsets and data tariffs.
          JP Morgan said: "As RJio commercial launch nears, we are seeing tariff cuts from the incumbents with free calling being bundled together with data for some select high value plans, while there are also data tariff cuts."
          From RJio's perspective, the key data point is the tariffs and how competition reacts to it. "If the plans are at a discount to current data tariff plans, then does the industry cut tariff to match RJio? Also what is the level of discount, if any, to current plans and how this would impact RJio's financial case would need to be seen. Voice tariffs though not much talked about are also important," it said.
          Goldman Sachs said Jio network is now available for free to most 4G smartphone users, with subscribers getting three months of unlimited data, voice and a suite of apps for free.
          "The response to this new entrant into India's telecom industry has been positive, with long queues in company stores. We expect Jio to garner 35 million subscribers over the next two years, with data volume growth for incumbents slowing to 50 per cent in FY17 from 70 per cent in FY16," it said.
          Voice revenue growth has picked up in the last two quarters driven by strong volumes and stabilizing tariffs.
          However, slowing data growth has become a concern for telcos, with revenue growth down to 32 per cent in first quarter as compared to 72 per cent in the same period a year ago.
          Goldman Sachs expects smartphone penetration in India to reach 56 per cent by FY21, from current 27 per cent, with 62 per cent of all smartphone users using high-speed data versus 50 per cent today.
          UBS said Airtel's tariff plans "is a smart strategy ahead of Reliance Jio as it looks to be an effective way to lock in customers and build loyalty in a prepaid market."
          Also, it should help increase data usage per subscriber, which is currently at 904 MB per month, as well as improve capacity utilisation in Airtel's 3G and 4G network.
          Given 3G and 4G are spectrally more efficient, there has been significant additional data capacity created by Airtel in India.
          Credit Suisse said operators, including Bharti and Idea, have introduced smaller ticket monthly 3G/4G data plans starting from as low as Rs 9 (for 20 MB, 28 days).
          "It is not clear what has triggered this sudden change in strategy (an imminent entry of a new operator, a significant scale of capacity addition as seen in our recent report, stagnation of data penetration growth, or a combination of all the above)," it said.
          The introduction of small ticket monthly plans should help kick start growth but opens the risk of negative surprise on data ARPUs, it added.

        Black money: 300% rise in raids, seizures

        • The Income Tax department has seized an all-time high value of cash and jewellery, while Rs 3,360 crore unpaid taxes have been surrendered this year as part of its enhanced crackdown against black money holders in the country.
          In a mammoth jump of over three times in the searches, raids and seizure action in the first seven months of this year as compared to the corresponding period of 2015, the department seized over Rs 330 crore of alleged tainted cash, jewellery and other movable and immovable assets.
          Last year, this figure stood at Rs 102.50 crore.
          An official report prepared in this regard states that I-T raids and searches this year have beaten all records of the last about five years in terms of number of such actions conducted, seizures made and subsequently the untaxed income brought to the government coffers.
          The figures compiled in the report, which has been accessed by PTI, state that the I-T Department carried out only 55 searches between January-July 2015, while these numbers rose to 148 in the corresponding period this year, cash seized during these operations jumped thrice to over Rs 254 crore as compared to Rs 76.72 crore last year, and the value of jewellery and precious metals seized this year stands at Rs 84.59 crore as compared to Rs 21.59 crore in 2105.
          "The total value of the seizures, after I-T raids were conducted between January-July this year, stands at Rs 329.93 crore as compared to Rs 102.50 crore during the same period last year. The latest figures are progressive and would go over Rs 330 crore (for Jan-July, 2016). This is a three times increase," the report said.
          It said the investigation directorate of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy-making body of the I-T Department, has issued strict directives to step up these actions to unearth instances of domestic black money and go into "all the usual and unusual sectors" that generate untaxed wealth.
          The department, across all the 16 regional investigation wings in the country, also got admitted or got surrendered over Rs 3,360 crore of money after searches were conducted, which was identified as unaccounted wealth, as compared to Rs 2,146.38 crore of such funds last year during the same period.

          Govt approves Rs 7,457 cr highway projects in 11 states

          • The  Government on Tuesday approved 16 highway projects in 11 states to be executed at a cost of Rs 7,457 crore.
            "The standing finance committee (SFC) today cleared 16 projects worth Rs 7,456.88 crore for 622 km," Road Transport and Highways Secretary Sanjay Mitra said.
            Of these, two projects will be built on hybrid annuity mode, 13 on engineering, procurement and construction mode and remaining one on build, operate and transfer (BOT) mode.
            The projects are in Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim.
            Mitra said two of the projects pertained to Char Dham Yatra connectivity in Uttarakhand on EPC mode.
            These include Rs 248 crore and Rs 200 crore projects for geometric improvement and widening of stretches on NH 58.
            The two projects to be built on hybrid annuity mode (HBA) include Rs 905 crore and Rs 1,338 crore projects in Maharashtra for upgradation of NH 66 stretches under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) phase IV.
            The BOT project pertained to four laning of Haryana/Punjab border Jind section of NH 71 design, build, finance, operate and transfer mode.
            The projects sanctioned today include five projects under SARDP-NE for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim.
            Mitra said projects would be bid out shortly while work on them would start after acquisition of 90 per cent land. 

          General Awareness

          World Population to hit 9.9 Billion in 2050, PRB report says

            • According to the projections of the 2016 World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB),the world population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050, up 33 percent from an estimated 7.4 billion now.
              Regional Population Growth:-
              PRB’s projections show Africa’s population will reach 2.5 billion by 2050, while the number of people in the Americas will rise by only 223 million to 1.2 billion.
              • Asia will gain about 900 million to 5.3 billion, while Europe registers a decline from 740 million to 728 million.  Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand) would rise from 40 million to 66 million.
              • This data sheet provides the latest data on 19 key population, health, and environment indicators for the world, major regions, and more than 200 countries.
              • PRB also added six indicators and analytical graphics that explore the balance between providing for human needs and sustainably managing the natural resources on which people depend.
              Upscaled Population explosion:-
              The combined population of the world’s least developed countries in the world will double by 2050 to 1.9 billion.
              • The population in 29 countries wills more than double and nearly all of these countries are in Africa.
              • Forty-two countries will register population declines. These countries are scattered throughout Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
              • Some European countries will post significant declines, such as Romania, which is projected to have a population of 14 million in 2050, down from 20 million today.
              • The population of the United States will be 398 million, up 23 percent from 324 million now.
              Rate of Growth :-
              As per the expected rate of growth, the expected population of the top populous countries in 2050 as follows:-
              1. India – 1,708 Million (1,329 in 2016)
              2. China – 1,344 Million (1,378 in 2016)
              3. US – 398 Million (324 in 2016)
              4. Nigeria – 398 Million (197 in 2016)
              5. Indonesia – 398 Million (259 in 2016)
              About PRB :
              The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is a private, nonprofit organization which informs people around the world about population, health and the environment for research or academic purposes and it was founded in 1929.
              • PRB was founded by Guy Burch in 1929. In the early 1930s, it shared office space with the Population Association of America in New York City.
              PRB aims to have a three-fold mission:
              • Inform(inform people about up-to-date research on population-related issues),
              • Empower(help people put the information to use), and
              • Advance(make sure that policies related to population, health, and the environment are based on sound research).
              The organization focuses its work around these “core themes”: Reproductive Health and Fertility; Children and Families; Global Health; Population and the Environment; Aging; Inequality and Poverty; Migration and Urbanization; and Gender. PRB also emphasizes two Strategic Approaches: Building Coalitions and Mobilizing Civil Society.
              • PRB’s annual World Population Data Sheet is a double-sided wall chart that presents data from 200 countries on important demographic and health variables such as total population, fertility rates, infant mortality rates, HIV/AIDS prevalence, and contraceptive use.
              • PRB’s online Data Finder allows users to search a database of hundreds of demographic, health, economic, and environment variables for countries, world regions, and states in the United States.
              • PRB’s glossary of population-related terms has been described as an authoritative source by people writing about population

          Featured post

          Current Affairs - 16 December 2018

          General Affairs   Cyclone Phethai Gathers Over Bay Of Bengal, May Hit Andhra On Monday ...

          Copyright © 2016. Vikalp Education