Current Affairs Current Affairs - 9 April 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 9 April 2017


General Affairs 

PM Narendra Modi's Veiled Attack At Pakistan: A 'Mindset' In South Asia 'Breeds' Terrorism
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hit out at Pakistan for promoting extremism and said that its backing for terrorism was hurting the economic development in the whole region. Without naming Pakistan, PM Modi said that the neighbouring country "breeds, inspires and encourages terrorism", and thus obstructs growth in the region.

    "There is one thought in South Asia which breeds, inspires and encourages terrorism. The thought whose priority is not humanity, but extremism and terrorism," PM Modi said while speaking at an event to honour martyrs of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

    The event was also attended by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is on a four-day State visit to India.

    PM Modi said that while India and Bangladesh focused on economic development of the entire region, Islamabad was following an ideology that promotes terrorism. "Our region is defined by three ideologies, which are a reflection of the thinking of the society and government. One thought is focused on economic development, to take all social groups along. Bangladesh is an example of this.

    "The second thought is 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (bringing everyone together for development)... Every neighbouring country of India should also prosper. Development of India alone will be incomplete," said PM Modi.


    Without naming Islamabad, he continued: "There is a mentality in South Asia against this mindset... A mindset that promotes terrorism, which has a value system which is not based on humanity, but on violence and extremism.

    "The main aim is to spread terrorism. A mindset in which policy makers feel terrorism is bigger than humanity, destruction is bigger than creation and betrayal is bigger than trust. This mentality is the biggest challenge to peace, social harmony and development. This mentality obstructs development in whole region".

    The PM said that ideology of extremism will not help anyone and urged "all countries move towards development".

Political Parties Must Be Held Accountable for Unfulfilled Poll Promises: Chief Justice JS Khehar
  • Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said today that political parties must be held accountable for unfulfilled electoral promises.

    "Now a days, manifestos have become a mere piece of paper, for this political parties have to be made accountable," Justice Kehar said at a seminar on 'Economic Reforms with Reference to Electoral Issues'.

    Speaking in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, the CJI said political parties give "brazen" excuses such as lack of consensus amongst their members to justify the non-fulfillment of electoral promises.

    He also said manifestos remain "pieces of paper" due to short-term memory of voters.

    On political manifestos released during the 2014 general elections, the CJI said none of them indicated any link between electoral reforms and the Constitutional goal of ensuring socio-economic justice for the marginalised.

    He said pursuant to the Supreme Court's directions to the Election Commission to form guidelines against freebies, the poll panel has been taking action against parties for violation of the model code of conduct.

    Justice Dipak Misra, the next senior-most judge, said "purchasing power has no room in elections" and a candidate must bear in mind that "contesting elections is not an investment".


    He said holding of elections has to be "bereft of or sans criminalisation" and people should vote for candidates based on their high moral and ethical values and "not on their competitive demerits".

    "Candidates and voters must remember that out of debt is out of danger," Justice Misra said, adding the day a voter goes to vote without being tempted "would be a glorious day for democracy".

India, Bangladesh Sign 22 Agreements
  •  In a bid to give boost to their ties, India and Bangladesh today inked nearly two dozen pacts in strategic areas of defence and civil nuclear cooperation after "productive" talks between their prime ministers.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on ways to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. He also announced a new line of concessional credit of USD 4.5 billion for the implementation of projects in Bangladesh.

    Announcing an additional line of credit of USD 500 million to Bangladesh for military supplies, PM Modi said it will be driven by the requirement of that country.


    However, much-delayed pact on the Teesta water sharing remained elusive for the two sides. Admitting that the pact was "important" for India-Bangladesh ties, PM Modi assured India's commitment to the issue.

    He said an "early solution can and will be found" to the Teesta water sharing issue.

    After their restricted meeting, the two leaders were joined by their respective delegations.

Sex Ratio In Haryana Touches 950 Mark For First Time: Manohar Lal Khattar
  • For the first time in the history of Haryana, the sex ratio in the state has touched the 950 mark.

    Haryana is notorious for its skewed sex ratio.

    Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said yesterday that the sex ratio at birth stood at 950 girls to 1,000 boys in March this year.

    This was for the first time in the history of the state, he said.

    As per district-wise data, the sex ratio at birth during March in Kaithal, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Gurugram, Bhiwani, Jind, Fatehabad, Panchkula, Rewari, Ambala, Mewat, Sonepat and Faridabad was 864, 863, 893, 893, 893, 896, 898, 912, 913, 921, 926, 939 and 947 respectively.


    The ratio in Karnal, Hisar, Yamunanagar, Sirsa, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Palwal and Narnaul was 953, 972, 974, 976, 980, 993, 1,217 and 1,279 respectively, as per information provided by the state government.

    Mr Khattar said that the state had, after the launch of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' programme by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Haryana, accepted the challenge of improving the skewed sex ratio.

    It launched a massive campaign in the state by strictly implementing Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 and running sensitisation-cum awareness campaigns promoting girl child.


    An official release quoting Khattar said more than 430 FIRs have been lodged in the state under the PC-PNDT Act and the MTP Act in the last about two years.

    Out of these, more than 80 FIRs were registered after inter-state raids in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Punjab.

Stockholm Terror Attack: 1 Arrested After 4 Killed By Truck Driven Into Crowd In Stockholm
  • A truck ploughed into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15 in what the prime minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack. Swedish prosecutors said a man detained in connection with a truck attack in the capital had been arrested on the strongest degree of suspicion of committing a terror crime.

    Sweden's legal system has several degrees regarding the strength of suspicion.

    "One person has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist crimes through murder," Karin Rosander, press spokesperson at the prosecutors office told Reuters.

    Swedish public broadcaster SVT reported police had arrested a second man and that he had a connection to the previously arrested person, citing police sources. The police declined to comment on whether it had arrested any additional suspects.

    "Our message will always be clear: you will not defeat us, you will not govern our lives, you will never, ever win," Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who had earlier described the assault as a terrorist attack, told a news conference.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Police said security at Swedish borders had been heightened. They did not rule out the possibility other attackers were involved.


    SWERVING

    "I turned around and saw a big truck coming towards me. It swerved from side to side. It didn't look out of control. It was trying to hit people," Glen Foran, an Australian tourist in his 40s, told Reuters.

    "It hit people; it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it," he said.

    "It took a long time for police to get here. I suppose from their view it was quick, but it felt like forever."

    The area of the attack in central Stockholm was evacuated, including the main rail station, and remained cordoned off late on Friday. All subway traffic was halted on police orders and government offices were closed.

    A Reuters witness at the scene saw police officers put what appeared to be two bodies into body bags.

    Bloody tyre tracks showed the path of the truck, which was stolen by a masked hijacker while making a beer delivery to a tapas bar further up Drottninggatan, according to Spendrups Brewery spokesman Marten Lyth.

    "We were standing by the traffic lights at Drottninggatan and then we heard some screaming and saw a truck coming," a witness who declined to be named told Reuters.

    "Then it drove into a pillar at (department store) Ahlens City, where the hood started burning. When it stopped we saw a man lying under the tyre. It was terrible to see," said the man, who saw the incident from his car.


    Police said four people had died and 15 were injured. National news agency TT said those hurt included the delivery driver, who had tried to stop the hijack.

    Several attacks in which trucks or cars have driven into crowds have taken place in Europe in the past year. Al Qaeda in 2010 urged its followers to use trucks as a weapon.

    ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in Nice, France, last July, when a truck killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day, and one in Berlin in December, when a truck smashed through a Christmas market, killing 12 people.

    "Hijacking a truck, that has happened before," Magnus Ranstorp, head of terrorism research at the Swedish Defence University, told Reuters.

    "And this is a pretty cunning modus operandi. To drive to Ahlens and stop ... There is a way down to the subway just a few metres away from there, and then you ... can jump on any train you want and quickly disappear."

    #OPENSTOCKHOLM

    Stockholmers opened up their homes and offered lifts to people who were unable to get home or needed a place to stay.

    "Our thoughts are going out to those that were affected, and to their families," Sweden's King Carl Gustaf said in a statement, while European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said an attack on any of the bloc's member states "is an attack on us all".

    The attack was the latest to hit the Nordic region after shootings in Danish capital Copenhagen in 2015 that killed three people and the 2011 bombing and shooting by far right extremist Anders Behring Breivik that killed 77 people in Norway. Sweden has not seen a large-scale attack, although in December 2010 a failed suicide bombing killed the attacker only a few hundred yards from the site of Friday's incident.


    In February US President Donald Trump falsely suggested there had been an immigration-related security incident in Sweden, to the bafflement of Swedes.

    Swedish authorities raised the national security threat level to four on a scale of five in October 2010 but lowered the level to three, indicating a "raised threat", in March 2016.

    Police in Norway's largest cities and at Oslo airport will carry weapons until further notice following the attack. Denmark has been on high alert since the February 2015 shootings. Traffic was restricted on the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden at the request of Swedish police.

    Neutral Sweden has not fought a war in more than 200 years, but its military has taken part in U.N. peacekeeping missions in a number of conflict zones in recent years, including Iraq, Mali and Afghanistan.

    The Sapo security police said in its annual report it was impossible to say how big a risk there was that Sweden would be targeted like other European cities, but that, if so "it is most likely that it would be undertaken by a lone attacker".

Business Affairs 

Yogi Adityanath orders probe into Mayawati's sale of 21 sugar mills, suspects Rs 1,100 crore scam
  • Suspecting a scam of about Rs 1,100 crore, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to conduct a probe into the sale of 21 sugar mills in the state during the BSP rule in 2010-11.
    The state government might consider recommending a CBI probe into the matter, an official spokesman said here today.
    The decision was taken at a review meeting of the Sugarcane Development department chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The state government suspects a scam of Rs 1,100 crore in the sale of the mills, the spokesman said.
    The chief minister noted that nobody has the right to misuse public property and those violating it will be brought to justice.
    Adityanath also said that FIRs will be lodged against sugar mills if they failed to pay arrears of sugarcane farmers by April 23.
    He also directed officials to take all measures to make operational the defunct sugar mills of the cooperative sector in next crushing season.
    Adityanath said a committee should be set up to suggest maximum utilisation of resources of sugar mills during the off season.
    The spokesman said that nearly Rs 3,000 crore sugar cane costs have been paid to farmers after the BJP came to power in the state. It was 21 per cent more compared to the previous season.
    Over Rs 18,000 crore was to be paid to farmers for the 2015-16 crushing season and around 17,840 crores have already been paid during new regime, he added.

Crackdown on shell firms: CBI books Axis Bank officials for Rs 100.57 crore deposits post demonetisation
  • The CBI on Friday carried out searches at 16 locations in Ahmedabad after booking 12 people, including Axis bank employees, for alleged illegal cash deposits of around Rs 100 crore post demonetisation.
    The cash deposits of Rs 100.57 crore in purported shell companies' accounts in Axis Bank's Memnagar branch in Ahmedabad were in violation of RBI notifications issued after November 8 last year, when the government, in a sudden move, scrapped Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.
    The CBI has booked branch manager Yasha Mehta, operations head Ahbhimanyu Singh Naruka and customers' relations officer Rita Kumar and nine others, including the cash handlers.
    The agency teams swooped down on 16 locations in Ahmedabad at offices and residences of the accused.
    There were three groups of cash handlers who were depositing demonetised Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes in the accounts of purported shell companies at the bank, CBI sources said.
    CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said the notes were allegedly being deposited by a group of people in name lending accounts with the help of the branch manager and other bank officials.
    The first group was Sanjay Manu Soni, Saurin Soni and Sameer, the second was Himanshu Agarwal, Jaideep, J D Shroff and Afzal and the third was Kiran Parekh and Hitesh Parekh, he said.
    The bank officials allegedly abused their position by allowing huge amount of unauthorised transactions in accounts of shell companies between November and December last year, he said.
    Owners of the so-called shell companies as well as those who were used for depositing the huge amount of cash in the said accounts were people of no-means and whose profile was non-commensurate with the quantum of such huge suspicious deposits, the FIR said.
    The accused were creating such accounts for "lending" purposes for depositing cash on commission basis and converting black money into white, they said, adding huge cash deposits were made in the bank several times during a day by one person.
    It is alleged that the first group of cash handlers deposited Rs. 55.70 crore, the second group deposited Rs. 41.62 crore and third group Rs. 3.25 crore, they said.
    "At many such instances, they deposited huge amount of cash by way of submitting multiple deposit slips in one go, with cash value of less than Rs. nine lakh, per slip, as per the advise of the bank officials," Gaur said.
    "It was also alleged that cash deposit slips of approximately Rs. 13 crore are not available with the bank," he said.
    These suspicious deposits were transferred to bullion traders and jewellers by way of RTGS, sources said, adding these bullion traders and jewellers will soon be called for questioning.
    The RBI guidelines issued after November 8, mandated that cash could have been deposited either by the account holder or their authorised representatives on production of suitable identity document.
    "...in the above cases, a majority of the pay in slips bear forged signatures of the account holders, which were ignored by bank officials," Gaur said.
    He said the accused in active connivance with the bank officials had failed to disclose their unaccounted wealth, in accordance with the amnesty schemes declared by the government and has converted black money into white by misusing the banking channels.

PM's office to review affordable housing programme with private builders: Report
  • The Prime Minister's office has called a meeting today to review the government's affordable housing programme as it targets to achieve 'Housing for All' by 2022.
    The PMO has called realtors' body CREDAI and NAREDCO to understand the problems faced by the developers in launching affordable housing projects, sources said.
    CREDAI is likely to make presentation on how to accelerate affordable housing projects in the country and to enable home buyers to encash the subsidy benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, they added.
    About two months back, Minister for Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu had said he was "disappointed" that not a single proposal had come from the private builders for the affordable housing projects.
    He had said that reasons for this needed to be found out.
    The government, in a bid to give a boost to the real estate sector, had accorded infrastructure status to the affordable housing segment in this year's budget.
    On December 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced interest subsidy of up to 4 per cent on loans taken in the new year under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana.
    Modi, in his national address on New Year's eve, had also said 33 per cent more homes will be built for the poor under this scheme in rural areas.
    Besides, in urban areas housing loans of up to Rs. 9 lakh and up to Rs. 12 lakh will receive interest subsidy of 4 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, while in rural areas loans up to Rs. 2 lakh will get an interest subvention of 3 per cent.
    "Even so many years after independence, millions of poor do not have their own home. When black money increased in our economy, houses became out of reach of even the middle class.
    The government has taken some major decisions to ensure homes for the poor, the neo middle class and the middle class," Modi had said.

    US tax scam: Fake call centre mastermind arrested in Mumbai
    • Sagar Thakkar alias 'Shaggy', the alleged mastermind of the Internal Revenue Service call centre scam in which thousands of Americans were defrauded to the tune of USD 300 million, has been arrested by Thane Police.
      According to Thane Police officials, Sagar, who was on the run since the unearthing of the scam last year, was placed under arrest late last night after he arrived at the Mumbai airport following his deportation from Dubai.
      A team of officers from Thane Police Commissionerate picked up Sagar from the airport, the officials said.
      The scam, which operated since 2013 through at least half a dozen call centres in Thane, targeted at least 15,000 US-based tax payers, who were allegedly conned by Indian tele-callers.
      The US Justice Department has charged 61 people and entities linked to the scam where call centre agents impersonated IRS, immigration and other federal officials and demanded payments for non-existent debts.
      US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had earlier said that these call centres stole more than USD 300 million from their victims.
      The scam came to light last year when police raided call centres at Mira Road in Thane district on the night of October 4-5. Subsequently, police teams raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket.
      Over 70 people, mostly directors and key persons linked to these call centres, were arrested and 700 employees were detained.
      During the interrogation of arrested directors, police got the name of Sagar. However, by that time, he had left the country on October 5 before police could catch him.
      According to police, they had issued a LOC (Look Out Circular) against Sagar on October 7, two days after his escape. The kingpin was suspected to have fled to Dubai.
      Investigators say Sagar (24) led a lavish lifestyle and was accompanied by around a dozen bouncers. He was a regular at posh late night parties in Mumbai and was also fond of high-end cars.
      He began working at the age of 16 with his 'mentor' Jagdish Kanani, who had worked in the call centres abroad.
      Kanani (33), who was arrested from suburban Borivali last October had trained him, they said.
      Also, Thane police had seized an Audi car belonging to Sagar, valued at Rs 2.5 crore, from Ahmedabad in October last year. It was allegedly purchased from a leading cricketer in May.

    L&T names SN Subrahmanyan as CEO; Naik, non-executive chairman
    • Engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Friday named S N Subrahmanyan as its new CEO with effect from July, while long-serving head A M Naik will move to a new position of non-executive Chairman effective October 1.
      The appointments, approved by the board of Larsen and Toubro today, will mark a major change in leadership positions at the company where Naik has served for over 52 years, including as its head for over 17 years.
      He became CEO and Managing Director in 1999, and was appointed as chairman in 2003.
      Naik will assume the new role of non-executive chairman for a period of three years beginning October 1, immediately upon his retirement as Executive Chairman on September 30.
      Subrahmanyan will take over as the chief executive officer and managing director from July 1, a company filing to the stock exchanges said.
      L&T is a major technology, engineering, construction, manufacturing and financial services conglomerate, with global operations, with revenue of USD 16 billion.

    General Awareness

    India ranks 9th among 41 countries in corruption in businesses

    • India has ranked 9th out of 41 countries in bribery and corrupt practices in businesses as per the EY (Ernst & Young) Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) Fraud Survey 2017. The ranking has improved marginally since 2015 in which India ranked 6th.
      Note – In context of this Survey, higher rankings indicate a negative scenario.
      • Improvement in India’s rank has been attributed to emphasis on transparency in governance and better regulatory scrutiny.
      • Countries which rank higher than India in this survey are: Ukraine, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Kenya, South Africa and Hungary.
      • In the survey, nearly 78 per cent of Indian respondents mentioned that bribery and corrupt practices are widely prevalent in Indian businesses.
       Cause of Concern and Course of Action:
      Arpinder Singh, EY India’s Partner and National Leader, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services has highlighted that unethical behaviour at the workplace among Gen Y (people in age bracket of 25-34) also referred to as millennial has become a serious cause of concern. He also added that this tendency should be countered by instilling ethical values and motivating these future leaders to make right choices in the larger interest.
      Other key findings from the survey:
      Choices% of Indian Respondents
      Those who would be prepared to act unethically to enhance their own career41%
      Those who are prepared to provide false information to improve their career or pay13%
      Those who stated that loyalty towards company prevents employees from reporting fraud, bribery or corruption58%
      Interestingly, in a global survey, only 1 in 5 i.e. 20% of respondents said they would be prepared to act unethically for betterment of their careers.
      • The survey also said that modern day business challenges such as uncertain market condition, pressure to meet financial targets combined with aspirations to achieve unprecedented career growth are proving as triggers for resorting to unethical workplace behaviour.

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