Current Affairs Current Affairs - 25 July 2017 - Vikalp Education

Online Vikalp, Current Affairs, Current Awareness, General Awareness, Aptitude Classes, Daily News, General Knowledge, GENERAL AWARENESS FOR ALL COMPETITIVE EXAMS

Current Affairs - 25 July 2017


General Affairs 

Aadhaar vs WhatsApp: How privacy changes meaning for government in different cases
  • The Supreme Court will hear the Centre's argument on the right to privacy debate in the Aadhaar case on Tuesday.
    In the Aadhaar case, the Centre has maintained that right to privacy is not a fundamental right but a common law right, and only unauthorised intrusion into one's privacy is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.
    This line of argument is in contrast to the government's stand in favour of privacy before the Supreme Court in the WhatsApp privacy policy case.
    In a hearing on the WhatsApp privacy case on Friday, the Centre told the Supreme Court that data belonging to an individual is an extension of one's personality that resides in Article 21 of the Constitution.  
    CENTRE ARGUES FOR PRIVACY IN WHATSAPP POLICY CASE
    The Centre told the Supreme Court that data belonging to an individual was intimate and an extension of his or her personality.
    "Data is an extension of my personality, footsteps of my life and intimate to me and resides in Article 21. Anything that can impinge on data, that is my own, impinges on my right," said Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha.
    "If data is goods (product) and if it is, then in whom does the proprietary rights vest. Then how can I park it--either by contract or by commercial or without commercial consideration?" ASG Narasimha told the Supreme Court.
    A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra is hearing the plea challenging WhatsApp privacy policy on the ground of violating right to privacy and allegedly sharing data with Facebook, which bought the messaging app in 2014.
    The Centre also told the Supreme Court that there was a need to devise a mechanism to regulate online message service platforms.  
    CENTRE SAYS OTHERWISE IN RIGHT TO PRIVACY DEBATE    
    In contrast, the Centre has said that the petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme over violation of right to privacy cannot be entertained under Article 21.
    The Centre, in written submission to the court, said that only unauthorised intrusions into one's privacy are protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.
    In its submission, the Centre has fallen back on two previous verdicts in the M P Sharma case in 1954 and the Kharak Singh case in 1963 which did not recognise right to privacy as a fundamental right.
    A nine-judge Constitution bench, comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar, is hearing the right to privacy debate, while a smaller bench will subsequently hear the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme.
    In the court, petitioners have argued for a broader definition of privacy with senior counsel Gopal Subramanium saying that fundamental ideas of liberty and freedom cannot exist without right to privacy.    
    On Tuesday, Centre will present its arguments in the Supreme Court on the right to privacy case.

Expect a cleaner Ganga by next year, new law on the anvil: Uma Bharati
  • Responding to supplementary questions in the Rajya Sabha over Clean Ganga project, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati said that the initiatives taken by the central government would start showing results in 2018.
    Umar Bharati said that the cleaning of the river was a gigantic task and it was not like river Thames or Rhine, where people do not take a dip like in the Ganga where about 60 crore people bathe every year.
    "The Ganga cannot be like Thames and Rhine" said Uma Bharti Water Resources Minister, adding, "Some rivers which have been cleaned once, do not require further cleaning. Only maintenance is required." The Ganga is not like those rivers, Bharati said.
    About, 20 lakh people take dip in the Ganga every day, the minister said. Uma Bharati further said, "We are working to bring a Ganga Act, which will be shared by her ministry with state governments soon in order to get better results."

    UMA BHARATI ON CLEAN GANGA: THINGS TO KNOW
    1. Speaking about cleaning two popular Ganga Ghats in Varanasi - Manikarnika Ghat and Dashashwamedh Ghat - Uma Bharati said, "Any key change made by government of India needs approval of the High Court as per a ruling. Since there is history and reverence attached to the place, with thousands of years of reverence and practice of Hindu tradition, we need to seek permission each time any work is done."
    2. Uma Bharati said that work on a new Ganga law to lay down guidelines for cleaning the holy river and implement the Namami Gange programme is underway. Earlier, the government had formed a committee to prepare the draft of the new Ganga Act.
    3. The committee was headed by Justice (Retd) Girdhar Malviya. The committee has submitted the draft law to the Water Resources Ministry for further examination. 79-year-old Malviya is the chairman of Ganga Mahasabha, which was formed by his grandfather and Banaras Hindu University founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.
    4. The draft law aims at expediting implementation of Namami Gange programme. It would lay down guidelines to rid the river of silt and pollutants.
    5. While Uma Bharati responded to the questions in the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition created an uproar contesting her claim. Naresh Aggarwal of the Samajwadi Party (SP) claimed "zero work" has been done by the Water Resources Ministry under Namami Gange Programme.
    6. The Namami Gange project of integrated conservation mission of the Narendra Modi government was approved as the flagship programme in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore. Its objectives are effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of the Ganga.

Ahead of NSA Ajit Doval's visit, China says open to bilateral talks, but imposes a Doklam precondition
  • China indicated today that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval could hold bilateral talks with his counterpart, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, as he visits China on July 27 and 28 for the annual BRICS National Security Advisers' summit meeting.
    At the same time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggested "meaningful dialogue" on the on-going Doklam standoff was unlikely until India fulfilled the "precondition" of withdrawing troops from the area, and that the two officials may discuss other issues.
    "The BRICS high-representatives for security issues will hold a meeting on July 27 and 28," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. "On bilateral meetings, I do not have the relevant information right now. As far as we know, in previous meetings, usually it is arranged for the heads of delegations to hold meetings to exchange views on bilateral relations and other international issues."
    Lu also stressed that in China's view, "meaningful dialogue" on the standoff at Doklam was not possible until India withdrew. "China and India have a smooth diplomatic channel," he said. "The crux now is Indian border troops illegally stayed on China's territory. Once again we urge India to pull back to the Indian side of the boundary. I want to stress that this is precondition for any meaningful talks between the two sides."
    Lu said the BRICS meeting was the main platform for the BRICS countries to strengthen strategic communication and increase political mutual trust as well as discuss "hotspot" issues. Asked if Doklam would figure, he reiterated China's position on the conditions for dialogue.
    The Foreign Ministry spokesperson was also asked about Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's comments in India calling for a peaceful resolution to territorial issues.  He said that her comments were "correct" but "this principle does not apply to the current standoff as there is no dispute in the Doklam region" between India and China.
    "China hopes to maintain peace and stability of border areas but China will not make any compromise on sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. "The responsibility for this incident lies completely with India and we hope India can get a clear understanding of the situation and can take swift and correct measures to avoid escalation of the situation."

RSS arm want China out, collects signatures against neighbours
  • After the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) gave a call for a boycott of Chinese goods in daily life and urged people to chant a hymn to ward off the evil of the Chinese, the economic arm of the saffron parivar, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, has started collecting signatures from Indians to elicit support for shunning Chinese produce.
    According to manch functionaries, the body has so far collected over one crore signatures in favour of a complete boycott of China-made manufactures and plans to corner another 1.5crore signatures in a few days.
    CHINA TO PUT ON LIST OF ENEMY NATIONS
    The manch has also called for China to be put on the list of hostile or enemy nations and thus demanded a complete suspension of trade links with the dragon.
    Sources said while RSS volunteers were so far involved in collection of signatures for the campaign, soon the manch would educate people to strike out on their own across the country.
    "Indians are coming alive to the real danger that China and its cheap manufactures dumped in India so far pose to the integrity as well as livelihood of the country. So far one crore people have resolved to shun these goods. In a sign of how this can hurt China, only a partial boycott of Chinese goods last Diwali hurt the trade by 15 to 20 per cent," said SJM coconvenor Ashwani Mahajan.
    Mahajan came out strongly against the economic policy India has assumed towards China.
    "It is strange that we are importing Rs 42,000 crore of goods from a country that is behaving like our enemy. China has invested in several sensitive sectors of India such as telecom, transport and railways," Mahajan said.
    "We have given Chinese contract to supply coach for Mahashtra metro project. We do not approve of this. We have written to the government raising our concerns. Look at Americans: they passed 'Buy American Act' in 1933 that was aimed at giving a fillip to indigenous products and domestic industries." Mahajan took the past Congress governments in crosshair, alleging the past regimes favoured Chinese investments in India.
    "The last government stipulated such conditions for tenders to several projects, which could be fulfilled by Chinese companies only and this was done to profit these interests. Chinese companies are getting tenders in sensitive sectors and thus detrimental to India's security," he added.
    Mahajan went on: "China has been scuttling our efforts at various levels, from the issue of declaring Masood Azhar terrorist to our entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Chinese goods are throwing our youths out of jobs and employment. Boycotting Chinese goods means encouragement to our own manufacturing sector in the same proportion as the boycott."

Former ISRO chief Udupi Ramachandra Rao dies at 85
  • Eminent space scientist and former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao died in Bengaluru, in the wee hours today due to age related ailments. Rao was 85. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, ISRO officials said.
    Known for his work across the globe, Rao has been a part of several successful launches of ISRO, including Aryabhatta and the Mars Orbiter Mission. He is also credited for contributions to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources.
    Rao was confered the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology.
    Rao was born in a small village in Udupi called Adamaru. He has been associated with the Indian space programme from the times of Satish Dhawan and Vikram Sarabhai. He served as chairman of ISRO for ten years between 1984 and 1994. After taking charge as chairman of the space commission and secretary, department of space in 1984, he accelerated the development of rocket technology which led to the successful launch of ASLV rocket and the operational PSLV launch vehicle, which can launch 2.0 ton class of satellites into polar orbit.
    He was currently serving as the chairman of the governing council of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, and the chancellor of the Indian institute of science and technology in Thiruvananthapuram.
    He has published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications, satellite and rocket technology and authored many books.
    Rao also became the first Indian space scientist to be inducted into the prestigious 'Satellite Hall of Fame' in Washington DC on March 19, 2013, and the 'IAF Hall of Fame' in Mexico's Guadalajara.

Business Affairs 

    Vodafone India-Idea Cellular merger deal gets CCI nod
    • The Competition Commission today approved the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, said lawyers who worked on the deal, which will create the country's largest telecom operator.
      Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co said the regulator has "unconditionally" approved merger of the telecommunications businesses of Vodafone India and its wholly-owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services, with Idea Cellular.
      "The USD 23 billion transaction is the largest transaction by value in the history of Indian M&A," it said in a statement.
      Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co advised Vodafone India and Vodafone Mobile Services on the deal.
      According to the statement, the regulator carried out a comprehensive review of the transaction and concluded that there was no appreciable adverse effect on competition from the proposed merger.
      "The CCI approval, within Phase 1, is a very welcome development for both the Indian M&A landscape and the telecom sector, and will serve to fuel more investment in capacity and coverage across a battling telecom sector in India," Shweta Shroff Chopra, Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, said.
      Phase 1 refers to the deal being approved within 30 working days as provided by the Competition Act.
      Law firm Trilegal, which advised Idea Cellular on the competition law aspects, said the deal with Vodafone India has received CCI approval.
      "The proposed merger involved a merger of two of the biggest telecom companies in India and will create the largest telecom player in India, creating significant efficiencies and synergies," Trilegal said in a separate statement.
      Getting approval within Phase I implies that the deal would not be subject to detailed scrutiny. Transactions where there are prima facie concerns that they would adversely impact competition are taken into Phase II for an in-depth scrutiny.
      Mergers and acquisitions beyond a certain threshold require approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which keeps a tab on unfair business practices across sectors.
      The deal, announced in March this year, will create the country's largest mobile phone operator worth more than USD 23 billion with a 35 per cent market share.
      Post the transaction, Vodafone will own 45.1 per cent stake in the merged entity while the Aditya Birla group, Idea's parent, will have 26 per cent shareholding after paying Rs 3,874 crore cash for a 4.9 per cent stake.

    FM introduces bill to replace Banking Regulation Ordinance
    • A bill to authorise the RBI to direct banking companies to resolve the problem of stressed assets was on Monday introduced in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
      The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, which was promulgated in May this year.
      The measure allows the RBI to initiate insolvency resolution process on specific stressed assets.
      The RBI would also be empowered to issue other directions for resolution, appoint or approve for appointment, authorities or committees to advise the banking companies for stressed asset resolution.
      Jaitley introduced the Bill amid protests in the House by opposition members protesting over the alleged incidents of lynching by cow vigilantes in different parts of the country.
      Just before the bill was introduced, Trinamool Congress member Sougata Ray said he was opposed to the banking regulation ordinance and said it was a "desperate step by a desperate government".
      Non-performing assets of banks have risen to over Rs 9 lakh crore and now RBI is being given power to refer the cases to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board, he said.
      "It is the same RBI which had not been able to count notes (since demonetisation). Giving such powers to RBI will detract it from macro-economic to micro-economic issues and render the bank management useless," Roy said
      He demanded that the bill be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
      When Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Jaitley if he has to say anything on Roy's remarks, the Finance Minister said the issues does not relate to the introduction and would be dealt with when the bill comes up for a discussion.
      Moving on fast-track, the RBI had in June identified 12 large loan defaulters who account for 25 per cent of the total bad loans in the banking sector.
      Action under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has already begun in certain cases, including Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel and Bhushan Power & Steel.

    India's trade deficit with China marginally dips to $51 billion in 2016-17
    • India's trade deficit with China has marginally dipped to USD 51 billion in 2016-17 from USD 52.69 billion in the previous fiscal, Parliament was informed today.
      Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that efforts are being made to increase overall exports by diversifying the trade basket with emphasis on manufactured goods, services, resolution of market access issues and other non-trade barriers.
      "This is done through bilateral meetings and institutional dialogues. Indian exporters are encouraged to participate in major trade fairs in China to show-case Indian products," she said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
      In a separate reply, the minister also listed out top 10 countries with which India's trade deficit has increased during the last three years and this fiscal.
      The countries include South Africa, Iran, Russia, Canada, Japan, Australia and China.
      India's bilateral trade with China stood at USD 71.48 billion in 2016-17.
      Replying to a separate question, she said the government is not working on a proposal to merge the directorate general of foreign trade with the central board for excise and customs to promote ease of doing business.

    Arun Jaitley to head panel on HPCL stake sale to ONGC
    • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will head a 3-member ministerial panel to oversee and expedite the sale of government stake in oil refiner HPCL to explorer ONGC, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.
      Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will remain a public sector unit with a separate board and brand identity post Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) acquiring government's entire 51.11 per cent stake, which at current prices is valued at about Rs 28,800 crore.
      Post-merger all refining units of ONGC will be accumulated under HPCL, making it India's third largest oil refiner after Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Reliance Industries, Pradhan said.
      Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, he said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had on July 19 given 'in-principle' approval for strategic sale of the government's existing 51.11 per cent stake in HPCL to ONGC along with the transfer of management control.
      "For overseeing this transaction, CCEA approved setting up of an alternative mechanism, headed by Finance Minister, which will help in taking quick decision with regard to the timing, price, terms and conditions and other related issues," he said.
      Pradhan and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will be part of the ministerial panel.
      Stating that the merger will be completed within the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, Pradhan said valuations and other modalities of the state will be strictly driven by the market regulator SEBI rules.
      Valuation and transaction advisers will be appointed soon, he said.
      "The proposed acquisition in the oil sector, will create a vertically integrated public sector oil major having presence across the entire value chain. This will give ONGC an enhanced capacity to bear higher risks, take higher investment decisions and to neutralise the impact of global crude oil price volatility," he said.
      The acquisition of HPCL by ONGC will result in significant synergies in terms of optimisation of logistics costs, R&D activities, economies of scale of purchase of crude oil and optimisation in refinery operations.
      After the acquisition by ONGC, HPCL will continue to be a central government public sector enterprise. "It can still maintain its cultural uniqueness and brand identity, distinct from ONGC," Pradhan said.
      Talking to reporters outside Parliament House, he said the modalities of bringing refining units of MRPL and HPCL under one umbrella would be decided by their respective boards.
      "HPCL currently has 24.8 million tonnes per annum of refining capacity. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) - a subsidiary of ONGC, has 15.1 million tonnes. After this deal, the entire refining capacity of ONGC Group will come under HPCL.
      "So, HPCL will have 40 million tonnes of refining capacity and will be third largest in the country after IOC which has 69.2 million tonnes capacity and Reliance Industries which has 62 million tonnes," he said.
      Pradhan said MRPL will merge with HPCL but did not indicate timelines. "HPCL already has 16.96 per cent in MRPL.
      So there already is synergy there," he said.
      ONGC owns 71.63 per cent of MRPL, a company it had acquired from AV Birla Group in March 2013.
      HPCL plans to set up a 9 million tonne unit in Rajasthan as well as expand its Vishakhapatnam refinery in Andhra Pradesh. This will take the company to 50 million tonnes-plus category, he said.
      For ONGC, the deal will bring to it assurance of market as well as greater capability to bid for not just oil and gas fields but also refinery and downstream projects abroad, he said.
      "Previously, the issue was about supply security but the world over market security is being sought," he said, adding that HPCL controls one-fourth of fuel retailing market in India.
      HPCL as a brand with a separate board and its own identity will continue, he said.

    KKR, Warburg Pincus show interest in Air India sale
    • Aftre IndiGo and Tata, global private equity firms KKR and Warbug Pincus have expressed interest in acquiring Air India's stake.
      According to a report in Livemint, the Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Warbug Pincus have separately sought details of the proposed disinvestment process of Air India after it was cleared by the cabinet in end June.
      "Air India's businesses make attractive investment opportunity for the PE funds," said one of the two people. "However, the discussions are currently at a very early stage and will expectedly gain momentum once there is further clarity on the divestment process."
      This comes after Air India reported operating profit of Rs 300 crore in the last financial year. The airline saw its total revenue, including exceptional and extraordinary items, increase to Rs 22,146 crore in 2016 -17 period, as per provisional numbers provided by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha to the Rajya Sabha.  
      Air India is being drained of a staggering Rs 6,000 crore every year on account of servicing its huge debt burden estimated at Rs 48,876.81 crore as on March 31, 2017, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
      The minister said the airline is facing financial pressure and earning less profit due to the high debt burden as an offshoot of past accumulated losses. Air India's market share has shrunk to 12.9 per cent from 35 per cent a decade ago.
      Days after budget-carrier IndiGo expressed interest in buying out Air India's international operations, the Tata group, which initially owned the airline founded by its former Chairman JRD Tata, had informally sought details on the planned sale of Air India.
      The group of ministers including Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal and Ashok Gajapathi Raju which is studying the sale of Air India.
      On July 7, the owners of IndiGo, the only airline that has made a formal offer to acquire loss-making Air India, held an hour-long conference call to calm the nerves of jittery investors.
      Speaking on the rationale behind their pitch to acquire debt-ridden carrier, IndiGo owners Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal emphasized IndiGo's need for Air India's international operations to gain access to several restricted and closed overseas markets.

    General Awareness

    Indian team won 5 medals at World Para Athletics Championships 2017, London

    • Eighth edition of World Para Athletics Championships was held in London, UKfrom 14th to 23rd July, 2017.It was organized by theWorld Para Athletics subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee.
      • Around 1,300 athletes from 100 countries participated in this championship, contesting at more than 200 medal events.
      • Competition was held in the iconic London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the same venue that staged athletics events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
      • India ranked at 34th position on medal table. Indian team won 5 medals (1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze) in this championship.
      World Para Athletics Championships 2017 – Medal Table – Top 5:
      CountryGoldSilverBronzeTotal
      China30171865
      United States20192059
      Great Britain1881339
      Ukraine1261129
      Australia119828
      Gurjar 2nd Indian to win gold at World Para Athletics C’ship
      Indian Para-athlete Sundar Singh Gurjar became second Indian to win gold at the World Para Athletics Championships.
      • Sundar Singh Gurjar won Gold one in javelin throw at the Para-Athletics World Championships in London.
      • Gurjar, whose left hand is amputated, recorded a personal best of 60.36 metres to win the gold medal.
      • Earlier, para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia won gold in 2013.
      Amit Kumar Wins Silver In World Para Athletics Championships
      India’s Amit Kumar Saroha clinched a silver medal in men’s club throwcompetition in World Para Athletics Championships on July 17, 2017.
      • Saroha’s best throw of 30.25m, which came in his third attempt, fetched him a silver medal.
      • In the process, Amit Kumar set a new Asian record in this event.
      • Serbia’s Zeljko Dimitrijevic retained his title with a world record throw of 31.99m.
      • Saroha had also won a silver in this event in the last edition of World Para Athletics Championships in Doha in 2015.
      Karamjyoti Dalal wins bronze medal at World Para Athletics
      Discus-thrower Karamjyoti Dalal won a Bronze medal at World Para Athletics Championships 2017, in the Women’s category.
      • Dalal, at the last moment, managed a throw of 19.02m, just overtaking Baharain’s Alomari Roba, who managed 19.01m.
      • Though Karamjyoti was initially declared fourth, Chinese Yang Liwan’s post-event disqualification resulted in Karamjyoti being deemed the bronze medallist.
      Sharad Kumar and Varun Bhati winning a silver and bronze at world Para Athletic Championship
      High jumpers Sharad Kumar and Varun Bhati won silver and bronze medalrespectively at Para Athletics Championships 2017.
      • Sharad recorded his career-best performance with a jump of 1.84m, just 0.02m short of USA’s Sam Gwewe who took gold with a championship record.
      • Varun Bhati, a Rio Paralympics medallist leaped 1.77m to won the bronze medal. 

      Post a Comment

      Featured post

      Current Affairs - 21 August 2018

      General Affairs   Need This To Rebuild Kerala, Not Food And Clothes, Says Union Minister ...

      Copyright © 2016. Vikalp Education
      loading...