Current Affairs Current Affairs - 19 August 2017 - 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

Current Affairs - 19 August 2017

General Affairs 

Doklam standoff: Japan backs India, says no one must use unilateral force in bid to change status quo
  • After the United States of America, Japan has now come out in support of India on the ongoing border crisis between India and China at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction in Doka La (Doklam) plateau.
    Responding to questions on the current border stand-off, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said on Thursday, "We understand that the standoff in the Doklam area has been ongoing for nearly two months. As it can affect the stability of the entire region, we have been watching the situation very closely".
    Japan, who also is faced with maritime aggression by China, emphasised the need to respect agreements and not alter the status quo at will. "What is important in disputed areas is that all parties involved do not resort to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, and resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner".
    The Japanese envoy also said, "We realise that the area is disputed 'between China and Bhutan', both recognise the 'existence' of a dispute and were engaged in border talks."
    He added, "We also understand that India has a treaty understanding with Bhutan, that's why Indian troops got involved in the area." This even as Chinese diplomat Wang Wenli, Deputy Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs in China's foreign ministry had claimed that Bhutan had conveyed to Beijing "through diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff is not its territory".
    Even as China questions India's presence in Doklam and has set the precondition of withdrawal of troops for any kind of dialogue, Japan has sided with India on her stand. "As far as India's role is concerned, we understand that India is involved in this incident based on bilateral agreements with Bhutan. External Affairs Minister Swaraj has made it clear that India would continue to engage with dialogue through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution. We consider this attitude towards peaceful resolution important, Ambassador Hiramatsu said on Thursday.
    On Wednesday, the US had called India and China to resolve the stand-off through dialogue. US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, "We are encouraging both parties to sit down and have a direct dialogue."

Indian Army to use double-humped camel for transport, logistics at Ladakh border
  • The Indian Army is set to use double-humped camels in the harsh terrain surrounding the the Line of Actual Control.
    The LAC between India and China is spread over hundreds of kilometers, which needs lots of courage to survive in the extreme and volatile atmospheric conditions with very less oxygen in these places.
    Animals, however, had always been friends to the jawans and the common people in such situations. On LAC with China in Ladakh, animals like ponies, camel, yak and donkey are generally used as such harsh, hostile and rugged terrains make mechanical transportation difficult.
    Among them, the camel has a special advantages over other animals on power, stamina, and endurance. These double humped camels carry 250kg load, 5 times more than traditional pony.
    They will not only help Indian army in transportation of logistics but even for carrying weaponry. The DIHAR (Defence Institute of High Altitude Research) in Leh-Ladakh has been working on projects on utilisation of pack animals, their health, nutrition and training so that these animals could serve the defence forces.

Bihar floods: Death toll rises to 98, exams postponed, trains cancelled
  • As floods continued to cause havoc in Bihar, the death toll rose to 98 today. The deluge has so far affected nearly 93 lakh people in 15 districts, forced postponement of examination and cancellation of trains.
    The regional MeT office has forecast rain in southern Bihar for one more week.
    The Health Department has launched a toll-free number -- 104 -- officials said, adding hospitals have been directed to maintain a sufficient stock of anti-snake and anti-rabies injections.
    Araria district accounted for 20 deaths, followed by East Champaran (14), West Champaran (13), Madhepura (12), Sitamarhi (11), Kisanganj (8), Purnea (5), Madhubani (5), Darbhanga (4), Saharsa (3), Sheohar (2) and Supual (1), said Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Pratyay Amrit.
    Amrit said 3.59 lakh people have been shifted to safer places. Of them, 2.13 lakh were put up in 504 relief camps.
    Food packets are being airdropped in inundated areas. Where flood waters have receded, they are being supplied through panchayats.
    Amrit said 114 boats of the National Disaster Response Force, 92 of the State Disaster Response Force and 70 of the Army have been deployed for relief and rescue works.
    Principal Secretary, Road Construction, Amrit Lal Meena said 124 roads, including national highways, have been damaged due to floods.
    Meanwhile, train services continued to be affected.
    An East Central Railways statement said 39 trains were cancelled as water overtopped tracks. The cancelled trains included 12235 Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani, 12424 New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani till August 20.
    Because of incessant rain in Nepal and Motihari, the water level in the Burhi Gandak river is swelling further and is flowing with full fury. Water has now come up on the National Highway number 28A which connects Motihari to Bettiah and Raxaul.
    Several trucks coming from West Bengal and other states are left stranded on this highway which has also been damaged at several places.
    Also with flood water entering into several villages on both sides of the National Highway 28A, people affected have now come up on this highway to take shelter.

Saradha scam: Modi government puts Mamata's top cops under vigilance scanner for 'distorting' investigation
  • Top Bengal police officers, including the state DGP and Kolkata police commissioner have been put under the Central Vigilance Commission scanner by the Narendra Modi government over allegations of "distorting" the Saradha scam investigation.
    The development comes just months after former Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh wrote to Prime Minister Modi seeking his intervention in the matter.
    In his letter, dated June 7, 2017, Ghosh had sought "investigation and necessary action against those police officials", whom he claimed had "distorted the process, taken politically steps, protected actual conspirators/ beneficiaries, suppressed actual facts and plan fully directed the (Saradha scam) probe in favour of some influential persons." Acting on Ghosh's complaint, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) under the Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pension, under the Prime Minister himself, has forwarded the petition to the Central Vigilance Commission for "appropriate action".
    The Centre's communique to the CVC, dated August 2, 2017 and signed by S.P.R Tripathi, an Under Secretary to the Government of India (GoI) states: Petitioner is seeking CBI investigation against IPS officers for distortion of the Saradha Probe in West Bengal.
    "I have received a copy of the letter that Central Government has written to the Central vigilance Commission in which they have send the matter for investigation and action," Kunal Ghosh said, speaking to India Today. "Few police officers, including some IPS officers have tried their best to cover up the matter on behalf of some influential people. I had written to the prime minister and home minister to kindly intervene. I think they (police officers) are also a part of the larger conspiracy related to Shardha Scam," he added.
    In his complaint, Ghosh has named the present Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who was the head of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by Bengal government to probe the Saradha scam. Kumar was the Bidhannagar Police Commissioner at that time. Known for his proximity to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he was subsequently promoted as the Kolkata police chief. State Director general of Police Surajit Kar Purakayastha also features in Ghosh's complaint. "Those IPS  officers who are on my complaint list include Surajit Kar Purakayastha, presently the DG of West Bengal police who had attended agent meetings of Saradha Group while praising its promoter Sudipto Sen," Ghosh told India Today.
    Another police officer named in his complaint is the former Deputy Commissioner (Detective Department) of Bidhannagar Police Arnab Ghosh. Ghosh is now posted as the Police Superintendent of Malda district.
    For long, the opposition BJP in West Bengal has accused Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar of sabotaging the Saradha scam probe as the SIT chief.
    In fact, Kumar was unceremoniously removed from his post by the Election Commission just before the West Bengal assembly elections last year following a combined opposition complaint against him. However, immediately after she came back to power, chief minister Mamata Banerjee reinstated the 1989 batch IPS officer as the Kolkata police chief.

With Sharad Yadav in revolt, JD-U national executive to consolidate Nitish Kumar's position
  • All hands are on the deck for a successful national executive meet of the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) in Bihar scheduled for tomorrow.
    The day-long event will see a stamp on the decision taken by Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar to walk away from the grand alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Congress to join hands with the BJP last month.
    Nitish Kumar formed the new government in Bihar in alliance with the BJP following which the JD-U has seen rebellion from former party president Sharad Yadav and a few senior leaders including Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar.
    But, with virtually no voice of dissent from its elected MLAs and rebel leader Sharad Yadav finding support only from fringe leaders, Nitish Kumar is all set to emerge as the undisputed leader of the party after the national executive meet.
    However, Sharad Yadav's decision to host a parallel public meeting in the state capital has raised several eyebrows in the party fold. 
    Speaking with India Today, JD-U general secretary and spokesperson KC Tyagi said, "The national executive committee will be briefed about why the decision to break away from RJD and alliance with the BJP was taken."
    "This will be followed by a meeting of the national council which will approve the decision, while in the evening open session party workers will be addressed," Tyagi said.
    Tyagi said that the meet will also pave way for a formal entry of the JD-U in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).  "Any decision on BJP's offer of co-convener's post to Nitish Kumar will be taken thereafter," Tyagi further said.
    A strategy to counter RJD's proposed rally on the August 27 is also expected to be formulated during the meet. Sharad Yadav is likely to participate in the rally. JD-U has already placed 21 leaders from its Bihar unit under suspension for participating in the Bihar tour "Jan Chetna Yatra" of Sharad Yadav. 
    Buoyed by the success of his conference held in New Delhi yesterday, Sharad Yadav will host his 'Jan Adalat' as part of a series of events planned under the banner of 'Sanjhi Virsasat Bachao Manch'. Sharad Yadav has launched this platform to oppose alleged divisive politics of the BJP.
    Sharad Yadav's event in New Delhi saw a galaxy of senior leaders from the Opposition taking turns to attack the BJP and the RSS. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and CPI leader D Raja were among prominent leaders who addressed the forum.

Business Affairs

Can Reliance Retail grow to Rs 4.65 lakh crore by 2027?
  • After shaking the Indian telecom industry with the launch of Jio, billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Retail plans a massive expansion in rural and semi-urban markets for achieving the 30 per cent growth annually over the next 10 years. The expansion is expected to take up the company's revenue to Rs 4.65 lakh crore by 2027 and it will be 40 per cent higher than the consolidated revenue of entire Reliance Industries (RIL) in the last financial year.
    Reliance Retail, which completed 10 years of full-fledged operation, has recorded a revenue of Rs 33,765 crore in the last financial year, a 60 per cent growth compared to the previous year. It has already crossed the Future Group in the revenue, which was around Rs 26,400 crore in the last financial year. Avenue Supermarts, which operates the DMart retail chain, had a revenue of 12,000 crore. Reliance Retail had an EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of Rs 1,203 crore in the last financial year. If it grows in the same rate in the next 10 years, the company will be able to generate an EBIT of Rs 16,500 crore, say market analysts.
    Ambani said in the last AGM that Reliance Retail was a business with significant growth possibilities. "I have set our leadership a target of 30 per cent growth each year over the next decade," he added. Tough the company launched its first store in Uttar Pradesh in 2006, it had faced problems from the political parties and had to soft peddle the launches in other cities. It regained momentum and started opening stores in the next financial year, completing a decade of operation in the last financial year. In this context, the company has drawn up the plan for the next decade at a 30 per cent growth each year.
    At the end of first quarter, the retailer has 3,634 stores across India with 13.8 million sq ft retail space. The company has got 4 million customers every week in 703 cities. It has 30 million customers under the loyalty programme. The company has 5 lakh distribution partners for communication devices, especially for the LYF phones, which launched to support the Jio business.
    The cash and carry retail under Reliance Market, which started in 2011, has expanded to 37 cities with over 40 stores and serving over 2.5 million registered members, including kiranas, HORECA and other institutions. The super market chain Reliance Smart--- which was till last year classified separately as super and hyper marts--- operates 77 stores in 54 cities. Neighbourhood food and groceries chain Reliance Fresh has 500 stores across 80 cities and sells over 200 tonnes of fruits and over 300 tonnes of Vegetables every day, the company claims.
    Reliance Retail's omni-channel offering and the online journey began nearly two years ago with Initially it was rolled out exclusively for employees at the company's RCP campus in Navi Mumbai. Subsequently it was enhanced to consumers in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai. Last year, the portal had been renamed as and expanded to Pune and Bangaluru. Reliance Retail is also the order fulfilment partner for food and groceries in 14 cities for e-tailer Grofers India, which operates mobile and web-based platform Grofers. The online business of Reliance Retail will be expanded to more cities in the coming days, say sources.

Medical device makers complains against national drug regulator's price cap on knee implants

  • Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), an association of research-based medical technology companies, has expressed concerns over the government move to cap the prices of knee implants.
    The association says that while it respects the government's intention and actions for greater patient access, it is not for price control. "The Government wanted us to provide a proposal for self-regulation and we were constantly engaged with them. Post facto, we feel we could have been heard better, and we expected the regulator to have waited for our preliminary proposal that was committed in our meeting last week before this decision", MTaI stated.
    The association points out that the industry had shared with the NPPA an initial proposal to classify such products into 8-9 different categories. "We strongly feel that there was merit in looking at different categories to classify and allow free market economy principles for companies to compete", the statement said.
    According to MTaI, knee replacement surgery is not a life-threatening procedure but an elective surgery as the patient is free to choose to go for it or go for alternate therapies. "A good proportion of osteoarthritis patients in India often do not opt for knee replacement due to fear of surgery. Since there is no emergency here, we are surprised by the use of Para 19 while we were engaged with the NPPA productively on some form of self-regulation", it said. Para 19 of the Order empowers the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to fix/revise the ceiling price or retail price of any drug which it deems necessary for the interest of public in case of any extraordinary circumstances, and is to be used for essential medicines/devices.
    The association wanted such powers need to be used sparingly and only in case of extraordinary circumstances. It wanted such extraordinary circumstances to be clearly defined and governed by clearly laid-out parameters.
    MTaI claims that its member companies are governed by a code of conduct and ethics, and have compliance and legal departments which keep checks and balances to ensure each company operates in accordance to the law of the land.

Bring back Nandan Nilekani as Infosys chairman, says advisory firm
  • With Infosys' first non-founder CEO Vishal Sikka calling it quits, an investor advisory firm today favoured Nandan Nilekani -- one of the most high-profile founders of the IT firm -- being brought back on its board as its non-executive chairman.
    The Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) said the Infosys board has been "unable to protect its CEO" and to select a successor it must begin by "reinventing itself".
    "It must convince Nandan Nilekani to join the board once again, as its Non-Executive Chairperson," it said in a report, while adding that Nilekani should not see this as any other corporate job as Infosys is at the heart of Indian IT and its success will foretell how the sector will position itself for the future.
    Nilekani was one of the seven founders that set up Infosys more than three decades ago and served as its CEO between March 2002 to April 2007.
    Sikka was brought in as the company's first non-founder CEO in June 2014, prior to which the position was held by one or the other founder.
    Corporate governance experts and market analysts blamed the recent spat between Infosys founders and management for the resignation.
    The board and Vishal Sikka have spent considerable amount of time addressing the concerns - to a point where the company, in its 20-F filing, disclosed distractions from 'activist shareholders' as a possible risk to achieving the company's strategic goals, the report said.
    According to IiAS, Nandan Nilekani is possibly the very best candidate Infosys can find globally.
    "He has kept pace with technology advances, has been instrumental in digitalising the country, and is well- networked with the bureaucracy and global leaders. He also has skin in the game: having started with Infosys early in its journey, Nandan Nilekani will intuitively understand the corporate culture, and as such also have matching of minds with some of Infosys founders," it said adding he possesses the stature to bring an end to the public discourse.
    Commenting on the development, V K Sharma, Head - PCG, HDFC securities said while Infosys did better than the industry during Sikka's tenure, it was no where near achieving Sikka's own USD 20 billion target by 2020.
    "Sikka s allegation that he was continuously being distracted does not wash as he had long enough a honeymoon period to make his mark," Sharma said.
    Market experts however believe that though this will be a near term dampener but going forward the stock will overcome the setback.
    "While in near term it's a setback for the company; but given the strength of the board of the company, we believe that the company will overcome the setback," Angel Broking VP Research- IT Sarabjit Kour Nangra said.
    Mahesh Singhi, Founder & MD, Singhi Advisors also said, "the move is a succession plan to the company where Sikka comes on the board as vice chairman".

NPPA says cap on knee implant prices to end profiteering
  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) chairman Bhupendra Singh has said that the authority's recent decision to slash the prices knee implants and cardiac stents should not be seen as an attempt to regulate prices of medical devices across the spectrum. It was only meant to end the profiteering profiteering by the healthcare establishments, he clarified.
    Addressing the 11th edition of FICCI HEAL health conference in Delhi on 18th August, Singh said that the authority has details of the price patterns in the drugs sector. "Out of the 93,000 formulation drugs manufactured in the country, almost 80 percent are sold in a profit range of 40 - 50 percent to the trade. We consider it as reasonable", he said. According to him the remaining 20 percent drugs are sold at a margin that ranges between 100 percent to 1,100 percent, which he felt was akin to profiteering.
    Singh said that a similar exercise to identify the price patterns prevailing in medical device sector is underway. Without identifying the company or the brand, Singh said that one of the implants - on which the government has fixed a ceiling price - was imported at a cost of Rs 1,90000, sold to distributors for Rs 2,43,000, which in turn gets sold to hospitals for Rs 3,00,000 a piece. This price which the hospital used to charge for this device used to be Rs 9,00,000 before the price control, he explained.
    "No government will allow such a situation. In fact the government is not acting in a haphazard manner. Even the decision to control the price of cardiac stents were taken after giving six months time to the medical device industry to suo moto cut the prices", Singh pointed out.    
    According to Singh, Narendra Modi government has prioritized healthcare more than any other previous governments at the Centre. "This government has started thinking of health as a priority sector. As a result of the various initiatives, every Parliament session is see 50 - 60 queries on health coming from the members, he said.
    Emphasising the merits of the National Health Policy, Singh said that the government has opened up public sector healthcare facilities to the private sector to operate and make money. "We are not having a fragmented picture. What you are seeing are not isolated developments. It is all done with a purpose, and private sector has a great role to play", he said.
    Singh's comments came in the backdrop of widespread complaints from the private healthcare providers about the healthcare policies and programmes of the government.

Vishal Sikka's resignation wipes out over Rs 17,000 crore from Infosys market capitalisation
  • Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka's resignation wiped out nearly Rs 17,000 crore from the market capitalisation of India's second largest software exporter on Friday.
    The stock which closed with a market capitalisation of around Rs 2,29,285 crore on Thursday, tumbled up to 10 percent, leading to a fall in its market capitalisation to Rs 2,12,262  crore.
    The Bengaluru-based firm sent a release to the exchanges informing them about the crucial development at around 9:09 am before the market opened. As the market came across the news of Sikka's resignation, the Infosys stock took a downward path and fell over 9 percent or 97 points to 924 level on the BSE.
    The stock is down 8.26 percent or 83 points on an year-to-date basis  now compared to 1 percent or 10 points movement based on yesterday's closing price.
    On an yearly basis, the stock is down 9.57 percent or 98 points.
    The stock closed at four-month high on Thursday a day after the Bengaluru-based firm said it would consider a proposal for buyback of its equity shares at its meeting to be held on August 19.
    It was the top gainer on Nifty 50 and the 30 stock Sensex. A share buyback is repurchase of a company's outstanding shares that reduces the number of shares in the open market. The buyback is carried out usually at a premium compared with a current market price at that point.
    Sikka cited distractions and disruptions as reasons for his resignation. Sikka will hold office until permanent CEO is appointed. For now, Sikka has been appointed as executive vice chairman of the firm. UB Pravin Rao has been appointed as interim MD and CEO.

General Awareness

US, Japan vow to boost defence cooperation with India, S Korea, Australia

  • The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defense cooperation with countries like India, South Korea and Australia, amidst Chinas growing assertiveness in the Asia Pacific region.
    Highlights of Defence Cooperation Meeting between US & Japan:
    • On August 17, 2017, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,US Defence Secretary James Mattis, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera jointly addressed a news conference in Washington, US.
    • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mentioned that US and Japan will cooperate to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
    • During the meeting the ministers underscored the importance of cooperating to promote a rules-based international order, taking note of the United States continued commitment to maintain a strong presence in the region and Japans initiatives demonstrated by its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”.
    • According to the joint statement, the ministers strongly encourage China to take decisive measures to urge North Korea to change its course of action. Besides, they also confirmed the importance of the unwavering U.S. commitment to extended deterrence
    • Expressing serious concern about the situation in the South China Sea, they reaffirmed their opposition to unilateral coercive actions by claimants, including the reclamation and militarisation of disputed features that alter the status quo and increase tensions.
    • Reiterating the importance of the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes through full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, including arbitration, they emphasised the importance of compliance with the international law of the sea, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including respect for freedom of navigation and over flight and other lawful uses of the sea.

No comments:

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