Current Affairs Current Affairs - 5 March 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 5 March 2017

General Affairs 

Modi violated model code by holding roadshow in Varanasi sans permission, Congress writes to EC
  • The Congress has appealed to the Election Commission to book Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders for alleged violation of the model code by holding a roadshow in Varanasi without prior permission.
    The poll panel, on its part, has sought a detailed report on the issue from the state poll authorities.
    In a complaint to the EC, the Congress alleged that Modi took out the roadshow in Varanasi from BHU (Banaras Hindu University) "without the necessary permission from the competent authority".
    1. "It is requested that action be taken and FIRs registered against all BJP leaders, including Narendra Modi, who were part of the roadshow", said K C Mittal, AICC secretary in-charge of legal and human rights cell.
    2. The Election Commission has said it is ascertaining the facts and will act further on the basis of the report.
    3. "We are ascertaining the facts. We have asked the state poll authorities to send a detailed report on the issue", Deputy Election Commissioner Vijay Dev told PTI.
    4. The opposition party said that the entire video recording of the roadshow had been shown by various channels and that election authorities must also have recorded the same.
    5. Mittal said the roadshow covers three assembly seats of Varanasi South, Varanasi Cantt and Varanasi North and Modi also visited the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Kaal Bhairo Temple during the event.
    6. "All this was done without any requisite permission for conducting the roadshow from the competent authority of the Election Commission", Mittal said.
    7. On a whirlwind day in his Lok Sabha constituency to rally voters around the BJP in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Modi took out the roadshow, offered prayers at the two historic temples and paid tributes to Hindutva ideologue Madan Mohan Malviya on Saturday.
    8. His roadshow was held on a day when 49 constituencies went to polls in the sixth phase of UP Assembly elections and people in large numbers turned out as Modi's cavalcade moved at a snail's pace.
    9. BJP leaders believe the event, broadcast live on most regional TV news channels, will help their cause when the 40 remaining seats go to polls in the final phase on March 8.
    10. The seven-phase assembly polls in UP end on March 8 and results will be out on March 11.

Mumbai: BJP not to contest for BMC mayor's post, says Chief Minister Fadnavis
  • The BJP will not contest for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor's post, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said.
    The Shiv Sena won 84 seats, while the BJP finished a close second with 82 after results of BMC polls were declared on February 23.
    After making big gains in the Maharashtra civic body polls, the BJP seems to have relented before the Uddhav Thackeray outfit.
    Fadnavis says this decision was taken out of respect for the people's verdict.
    "We will not sit in Opposition. We will support the Shiv Sena on the development of Mumbai, but also look at the efficiency of the ruling party. We will not compromise on transparency", the chief minister said.
    The BJP, however, will keep a check on Shiv Sena by appointing a state committee to study transparency in BMC.
    "Apart from not contesting the Mayor's election, the BJP will not fight the Standing Committee election also. We will see to it that transparency remains the basic issue. We are appointing a state committee with three members to submit a report on how Mumbai can be made more transparent", Fadnavis added.
    The committee will consist of senior bureaucrats Ramnath Jha, Gautam Chatterjee and Sharad Kale. It been asked to submit its report in three months on the functioning and rules of corporations in the state.

    Despite the constant tug-of-war that goes on between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, the chief minister added that the BJP didn't want to strike a compromise with other parties only to be at the helm of affairs at the BMC, something that would have led to a coalition that was not transparent.

Srinagar: Clashes erupt after security forces cordon off Tral village in Pulwama district
  • Clashes erupted after security forces cordoned off Hafoo Nazneenpora hamlet in Tral township of south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Saturday evening.
    A police official said that Army and SOG of Jammu and Kashmir Police laid a cordon around the village after receiving information about the presence of militants.
    He said that no exchange of firing has taken place so far.
    However, locals took to streets and pelted stones on forces to help militants escape from the cordon.
    Security forces used teargas shells to disperse the protesters, who didn't relent.
    On Friday, cordon was laid by security forces in Chilipora Shopian where stone pelters also put hurdles for security forces in carrying search operation resulting in escape of two holed-up militants from the area.
    Earlier last week, protesters and stone pelters also resorted to stone pelting when cordon and search operation was launched in Pattan town of Baramulla district in north Kashmir by security forces after an input about presence of militants in town.
    Main stream political parties like National Conference and ruling-PDP have openly opposed the statement of army chief last month in which he warned stone-pelters and militant sympathisers in the valley for providing safe escape to militants.

AgustaWestland case: Two more accused get bail
  • A court here on Saturday granted bail to two more accused in the case relating to the Rs 3,600 crore ($528 million) AgustaWestland helicopter deal.
    Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge Arvind Kumar allowed the bail pleas of Delhi-based Media Exim Pvt. Ltd's Director RK. Nanda and former Director JB Subramaniyam on furnishing personal bonds of Rs 1 lakh and sureties of the like amount each.
    After considering a supplementary charge sheet in the case, the court had earlier said there were sufficient evidence against Nanda and Subramaniyam under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
    The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in June last year filed a fresh charge sheet against British national Christian Michel James, Media Exim, Nanda and Subramaniyam in its ongoing money laundering probe into the helicopter deal.
    According to the ED, Media Exim is a shell company of James and allegedly incorporated for facilitating transactions of kickbacks paid to James by Finmeccanica, a group firm of AgustaWestland. James allegedly received around Rs 225 crore as kickbacks from AgustaWestland for the deal inked for the purchase of 12 helicopters in the guise of transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.
    The agency is said to have found that of the kickbacks received by James, Rs 6.33 crore was routed to India through his shell company Media Exim from his Dubai-based global services, Free Zone Establishment  (FZE).
    "Nanda and Subramaniyam were appointed Directors of Media Exim Pvt. Ltd., who willingly and knowingly connived with James and helped him in acquiring immovable and movable properties or assets in Delhi, which have already been attached," the ED had said.
    ED and CBI had also notified an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against James after a city court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. Investigators said James is currently staying in Dubai.
    Earlier the court had granted bail to other accused in the case, including former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and Delhi-based lawyer and businessman Gautam Khaitan.

    The first charge sheet was filed in the case in November 2014 against Gautam Khaitan, his wife Ritu, Chandigarh-based firm Aeromatrix and Gerosa and Haschke.

To clear H-1B visa backlog, US imposes 6-month suspension on special payment programme
  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that in order to clear a backlog of regular H-1B visa applications, it is suspending for six months a programme that allowed some companies to jump to the head of the queue for quicker processing of H-1B visas by paying a special fee.
    This is not a suspension of the H-1B visas, but only of the "Premium Processing", which allows companies to pay USD 1,125 to go to the top of the line ahead of those waiting for applications to be processed, the USCIS said on Friday.
    "This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times", it added. H-1B visas are temporary work visas for people with special qualifications and it is used mostly by Indian techies.
    The "Premium Programme" suspension is to come into effect from April 3. Under "Premium Processing", a decision is made on H-1B application within 15 days, while the regular applications take more than three months - period that has lengthened because of the surge in "Premium Processing" applications.

Business Affairs 

Arrogance towards India could be dangerous for China: Chinese daily
  • It will be a "very dangerous venture" if China adopts an arrogant attitude towards India's manufacturing surge and ignores the country's competitiveness, state-run Chinese media warned.
    China should pay more attention to India's increasing manufacturing competitiveness, an article in the website of the state-run Global Times said, cautioning the Chinese industry against complacency.
    "Scholars should make a careful analysis about the soaring growth to find out whether this is merely a flash in the pan or a result of subtle changes in competition in the manufacturing sector," it said.
    "Although it is too early to say that India will replace China as a manufacturing giant, as it is not easy to form a complete industry chain from screw to commercial airliner in a short time, increased competitiveness from Indian-made products should be closely watched," it said.
    Official data showing India's January exports to China soared 42 per cent year-on-year which was overlooked by most Chinese analysts, but it will be a "very dangerous venture" if attention is being paid to bright points in the country's economy, the article said.
    "What cannot be overlooked is the increasing competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in India," it said.
    The sudden increase in India's exports is a surprise for the Chinese as India's trade continued to jump year on year.
    It soared to over USD 46 billion in over USD 70 billion bilateral trade.
    The Global Times article said that the rapid growth in India's manufacturing sector is likely to continue.
    "The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index grew to 50.7 in February from 50.4 in January, suggesting an expansion of activity in the sector," it said
    "Although India is still in its initial stage of developing export-oriented manufacturing industries, the country has great potential to emerge as a regional hub for labour-intensive industries," it said, pointing to the survey that China's manufacturing hourly wage in last year was roughly five times that in India.

GST Council clears crucial CGST and integrated GST law
  • The GST Council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday cleared the crucial Central GST & Integrated GST law.
    CNBC reported that West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said while the bills had broadly been cleared, the states had wanted 26 minor changes. The GST Council meet took place at Vigyan Bhavan with the aim of getting the council's approval on iGST (integrated GST), cGST (central GST) and sGST (state GST) drafts before the second half of the budget session of Parliament that begins on March 9.
    The government will now introduce the model GST law, which provides a common draft of CGST, SGST, IGST, UTGST and Compensation Law, in Parliament in the second half of the Budget Session beginning next week, the CNBC report said.
    Ealier in the week, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das while speaking to reporters had said: "GST implementation is a huge one and that is going to be implemented by July 1. Both federal and state government are working on this one."
    Das' statement had put an end to uncertainties over the implementation of GST. Last year in August, the Rajya Sabha cleared a bill that amended the Constitution to enable India's biggest tax reform - GST.
    However, there were many issues -division of tax administration, taxing high sea trade, compensation for revenue loss - that were to be resolved between federal and state governments. And, it was feared that GST could not be cleared before September.
    After rounds of discussion over revenue loss, the GST Council last month approved a law to compensate states for any loss of revenue from the implementation of the new taxing system.
    GST is a proposed system of indirect taxation merging most of the existing taxes into single system of taxation. It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act 2016.
    GST would be a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments.
    The GST is consumption based tax levied on the supply of Goods and Services which means it would be levied and collected at each stage of sale or purchase of goods or services based on the input tax credit method. Once it is in force, GST will replace at least 17 state and federal taxes. 

India to set up new defence unit to tackle Chinese and Pakistani hackers
  • In a bid to enhance its combat capabilities in the virtual domain, the defence ministry is working towards establishing a new cyber agency to tackle attempts by Chinese and Pakistani hackers to break into its systems and networks.
    "The tri-services integrated defence staff (IDS) is coming up with a unit to tackle the cyber warfare domain and it will be staffed with personnel from all the three services," senior government sources told Mail Today.
    The IDS is a tri-services organisation that works directly under the defence ministry but has officers and men from the army, navy as well as air force, and is responsible for tasks and projects involving the assets and men from all three services.
    "The forces have already started pooling in their resources in the cyber domain under the new agency, which would be headed by a major general-rank officer. The organisation will have both offensive and defensive capabilities in cyber warfare," said the sources.
    The development comes against the backdrop of around 22,000 pages of data purportedly related to submarines that a French government-owned company was building for the Indian navy being leaked to the media last year.
    There have been thousands of online attacks on various government websites and systems including defence-related ones in recent years, with fingers often pointing towards China and Pakistan.
    Till now, the army, navy and air force have their own separate cells dealing with cyber issues and they have also developed individual networks for safe communication and data exchange. The information networks created by the forces are state of the art and are capable of detecting any violation at centralised locations within a few microseconds.
    "If anybody puts in a pen drive in a computer of the military network, our men sitting in Delhi and other centralised locations can detect it within no time and prevent any leakage or attack immediately," said the sources.
    "This step of creating a new cyber agency, which would be a precursor to a cyber command, is in the right direction. Now the focus should be on creating infrastructure for manufacturing totally indigenous information and communication technology equipment," said information warfare expert Pavithran Rajan.
    To test its capabilities, the new agency has also carried out its first cyber warfare exercise under which Indian forces carried out attacks on their own networks to check for loopholes and steps required to strengthen the system, the sources informed.
    "The forces deduced that cyber should be the first agency to be raised for dealing with the increasing instances of attacks on military networks and systems," they said.
    The command of the new agency would be on rotational basis for the three services, which means that if it is first headed by an army officer, he would be succeeded by navy and air force officers. The head of the unit would report to the chief of integrated defence staff Lt Gen Satish Dua who heads the organisation at present.
    The government had deferred the demand for creation of new commands for cyber, special forces and space under senior lieutenant generalrank officers and asked the forces to first create capabilities for such commands.
    The decision to put off the creation of new commands was taken soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told senior military commanders that while global powers were reducing the number of their personnel, Indian forces were continuously demanding expansion in size.
    The armed forces had initiated the demand for creation of three new commands during the UPA government where the three services had decided to take one command each for themselves, setting up three army commander-equivalent positions.
    The country has only two operational tri-services commands including the strategicallylocated Andaman and Nicobar command in Port Blair, which will now likely have an officer from the navy as its head permanently.
    The other tri-services organisation is the strategic forces command, which looks after the nuclear arsenal including the Agni-series missiles for the nuclear command authority headed by the Prime Minister.
    The government is now considering a four-star officer appointment in the form of permanent chairman for the chiefs of staff committee. All tri-services issues are expected to go to him once the office is created.

    Uber used secret tool called 'Greyball' to evade law enforcement authorities
    • Ride services company Uber Technologies Inc for years has used a secret tool to avoid authorities in markets where its service faced resistance by law enforcement or was banned, the company confirmed on Friday.
      The New York Times first reported the existence of the program, called Greyball, which uses data from the Uber app and other methods to identify and circumvent officials who aimed to ticket or apprehend drivers in cities that opposed its operations.
      Rides hailed from a location near a city enforcement agency suspected of launching a sting to trap Uber drivers could be ignored or canceled, for instance, the Times report said.
      The tool allowed Uber to show images of "ghost" Uber cars on the app or show that no cars were available, according to the newspaper, in order to deceive authorities. Officials in certain cities without a legal framework for ride services have aimed to ticket, tow and impound the cars.
      A spokeswoman for Uber said Greyball was still in use, though scaled back. It grew out of an effort to protect the app from disruption by competitors and drivers from abuse and, in more rare cases, was also used where there were enforcement stings, she said.
      Meanwhile, Uber's best-known security researcher and vice president of product and growth resigned on Friday, without giving reasons. It was unclear if the departures were connected to Greyball.
      Revelations about the Greyball program come after a series of events bringing Uber's practices into doubt that has raised customer and investor concern.
      Those include allegations of sexual harassment that prompted an internal investigation at the company, a video of Chief Executive Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver that led him to make a public apology and pledge to "grow up", and a lawsuit by Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit, Waymo, accusing Uber of stealing designs for technology for autonomous cars. Uber has said Waymo's claims are false.
      In an email, Uber said the Greyball program "denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating our terms of service - whether that's people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret 'stings' meant to entrap drivers."
      The tactic had been scaled back considerably as the company won the right to operate in more places, a spokeswoman added.
      She said that Uber's legal department had approved the practice in locations where Uber was not clearly banned, and that Uber's terms of use required riders use the ride hailing app for personal, not commercial, reasons and to not cause "nuisance" to drivers.
      The program is still being used when drivers are under threat of arrest or other legal punishment in some cities within 15 U.S. states without clear ride-sharing laws, she said, adding that she did not know in which other countries the system is being used.
      A source earlier on Friday had told Reuters that the program had not been in use in the United States for more than a year.
      The New York Times said Uber used the methods to evade authorities in cities including Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries such as Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.
      Once the Greyball tool was put in place and tested, Uber engineers created a playbook with a list of tactics, which included looking up city officials on social media and obtaining phone numbers of cheap phones that Uber calculated enforcement officials were likely to buy, the Times said. Local officials on Friday expressed concern about Uber's practices but stopped short of saying they would take action.
      "We take any effort to undermine our efforts to protect the public very seriously," Dylan Rivera, a spokesman for the Portland, Oregon transportation bureau, said in a statement. "We will closely examine the evidence presented in this investigation to see if it warrants changes in our approach to consumer protection."
      Boston police Lieutenant Mike McCarthy said his department would also review the allegations and Philadelphia Parking Authority spokesman Martin O'Rourke said his agency was aware of Uber's attempts to evade local inspectors and the activity was covered by a settlement agreement that the authority and the company signed last year, in which Uber paid a $350,000 fine.
      Greyball, which began as early as 2014, was part of a program called "Violation of terms of service" (VTOS), aimed at finding people the ride-hailing company thought were using the app improperly, the New York Times reported.
      Two high-level departures on Friday added to Uber's woes. Ed Baker, Uber's vice president of product and growth, is leaving the company after nearly four years, an Uber spokeswoman said, declining to provide a reason.
      Also announcing his departure Friday was the best-known security researcher at Uber. Charlie Miller, who won fame beyond the security industry for hacking into a Jeep as it was driving, said on Twitter that he was leaving after a year and a half of working on security for autonomous driving. He said he would announce where he was headed next week.

      Rs 70,000 cr black money detected so far: Justice Pasayat
      • Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court- appointed SIT on black money, Justice Arijit Pasayat, today said Rs 70,000 crore of black money has been unearthed so far and the sixth report on it will be submitted to the apex court in April.
        He said Rs 70,000 crore of black money, including more than Rs 16,000 crore detected after probe launched into global leaks about Indians stashing funds abroad, has been unearthed through different schemes of the government.
        After a meeting with officers of several government agencies dealing with economic and financial affairs here, Justice Pasayat informed that the SIT will submit its sixth interim report to the Supreme Court in the first week of April.
        He said the SIT made several recommendations in the past two years through its interim reports to check generation of black money.
        "While most of our recommendations have been accepted by the government, some are under active consideration to clampdown on black money," he said.
        "One of our proposals, on cash holding of Rs 15 lakh or more to be presumed as undisclosed, is under serious consideration of the central government," Justice Pasayat said, adding that on the SIT's recommendation the government has already declared that cash transaction beyond Rs 3 lakh will be treated as illegal and punishable under law.
        On Odisha specific economic offences and unearthing of black money, he said today's meeting was specifically convened to ensure smooth coordination between all investigating agencies in sharing their findings with other agencies for easy detection of ill-gotten money.
        Justice Pasayat said he has asked the state crime branch, probing various wrongdoings of private educational institutions, jewellery shops, real estate companies, self-styled godmen, mafia dons, to share their findings with sleuths of the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate for a thorough probe.

      General Awareness

      List of Important River Projects in India

      • Dear Readers & Aspirants
        We have collected some important water Projects in India. Now-a-days GA questions are asking from various section in different views. We hope, it will help you in Competitive exams.
        ProjectRiverRelated State
        Bansagar ProjectSonBihar
        Uttar Pradesh
        Madhya Pradesh
        Bargi ProjectBargiMadhya Pradesh
        Beas ProjectBeasHaryana
        Bhadra ProjectBhadraKarnataka
        Bhakhra Nangal ProjectSutlejPunjab,
        Himachal Pradesh ,
        Bheema ProjectPawanaMaharashtra
        Chambal ProjectChambalRajasthan
        Madhya Pradesh
        Damodar Ghati ProjectDamodarJharkhand
        West Bengal
        Dulhasti ProjectChinabJammu & Kashmir
        Durga Barrage ProjectDamodarWest Bengal
        Farakka ProjectGanga, BhagirathiWest Bengal
        Gandak ProjectGandakiBihar, Uttar Pradesh
        Ganga Sagar ProjectChambalMadhya Pradesh
        Ghatprabha ProjectGhatprabhaKarnataka
        Girna ProjectGirnaMaharashtra
        Hansdev Bango ProjectHansdevMadhya Pradesh
        Hidkal ProjectGhatprabhaKarnataka
        Hirakud ProjectMahanadiOrissa
        Idduki ProjectPeriyarKerala
        Indira Gandhi Canal ProjectSatlajRajasthan
        Jawahar Sagar ProjectChambalRajasthan
        Jayakwadi ProjectGodawariMaharashtra
        Kakrapara ProjectTaptiGujrat
        Kangsawati ProjectKangsawatiWest Bengal
        Kol Dam ProjectSutlajHimachal Pradesh
        Kosi ProjectKosiBihar & Nepal
        Koyana ProjectKoyana Maharashtra
        Krishna ProjectKrishnaKarnataka
        Kunda ProjectKundaTamilnadu
        Let Bank Ghaghra CanalGanagaUttar Pradesh
        Madhya Ganaga CanalGanagaUttar Pradesh
        Mahanadi Delta ProjectMahanadiOdisha
        Malprabha ProjectMalprabhaKarnataka
        Mandi ProjectVyasHimachal Pradesh
        Matatilla ProjectBetwaUttar Pradesh
        Madhya Pradesh
        Mayurakshi Project MayurakshiWest Bengal
        Minimato Bango Hasdeo ProjectHasdeo Bango riverMadhya Pradesh
        Muchkund ProjectMuchkundOdisha
        Andhra Pradesh
        Nagarjunsagar ProjectKrishnaAndhra Pradesh
        Nagpur Power ProjectKoradiMaharashtra
        Narmada Sagar ProjectNarmadaMadhya Pradesh
        Nathpa Jhakri ProjectSutlajHimachal Pradesh
        Panam ProjectPanamGujarat
        Panama ProjectPanamaGujarat
        Panchet ProjectDamodarJharkhand
        West Bengal
        Pong ProjectBeasPunjab
        Poochampad ProjectGodawariAndhra Pradesh
        Purna ProjectPurnaMaharashtra
        Rajasthan Canal ProjectSutlej, Vyas, RaviRajasthan
        Ramganga ProjectRamgangaUttar Pradesh
        Rana Pratap Sagar ProjectChambalRajsthan
        Ranjeet Sagar ProjectRaviPunjab
        Rihand ProjectRihandUttar Pradesh
        Salal ProjectChenabJammu & Kashmir
        Sardar Sarovar ProjectNarmadaMadhya Pradesh
        Sarhind ProjectSutlajHaryana
        Sharawati ProjectSharawatiKarnataka
        Sharda ProjectSharda, GomtiUttar Pradesh
        Shivsamundram ProjectKaveriKarnataka
        Sutlaj ProjectChinabJammu & Kashmir
        Tawa ProjectTawaMadhya Pradesh
        Tehri Dam ProjectBhagirathiUttarakhand
        Tilaiya ProjectBarakarJharkhand
        Tulbul ProjectChinabJammu & Kashmir
        Tungbhadra ProjectTungbhadraAndhra Pradesh.
        Ukai ProjectTaptiGujarat
        Upper Penganga ProjectPenangaMaharashtra
        Uri Power ProjectJhelumJammu & Kashmir
        Vyas ProjectVyasRajasthan
        Himachal Pradesh

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