Current Affairs Current Affairs - 20 November 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 20 November 2017

General Affairs 

Army tones up muscles along China border, enhances troop presence in peaceful areas
  • In a bid to strengthen position against the threat of Chinese troops carrying out incursions along the Line of Actual Control, the Indian Army has enhanced its presence in relatively peaceful areas, such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where new formations have been deployed.
    In recent past, along with raising the Mountain Strike Corps to tackle the rising Chinese military presence along the borders, the Army has also deployed additional two brigades (approximately 8,000 troops) in eastern Ladakh for better security preparedness.
    "In Himachal Pradesh, there was one sector which has now been converted into new brigade in the area bordering the Chinese territory. While in Uttarakhand, a brigade has been sent from a rear position to Pithoragarh in the Kumaon hills of the state," sources told Mail Today.
    During the Doklam crisis also, senior level officers from the directorate general of military operations had visited the Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh borders near China to review the security situation.
    In the last one decade, incursions and transgressions from the China's People's Liberation Army into the Indian side have gone up due to different perception about the actual boundary line between them.
    However, eastern Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been the most active in terms of transgressions committed by the Chinese Army.
    During the Doklam crisis, when Indian and Chinese troops were in an eyeball to eyeball situation with each other, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) border patrol crossed the Uttarakhand border and entered the Indian territory.
    They crossed into Barahoti in Chamoli district on July 25 at about 9 am, and came upto 200 metres on the other side of the border where they entered the Indian side and asked cattle owners to leave the area. However, the soldiers left after a couple of hours later.
    Last year also a similar incident was reported from the region.
    The ITBP team, patrolling the area, raised the issue and the Chinese soldiers went back after a meeting.
    Indian army also patrols this area, but without uniform or weapons. The flat land is used by grazers of both India and China.
    Chinese and Indian soldiers had been locked in a face-off n Doklam plateau at the tri-junction with Bhutan where Beijing wanted to build a road up to Jhampiri which would have allowed them to come close to the Indian chicken's neck area in Siliguri corridor.
    The two sides disengaged from the area but have maintained their presence there. India's strong stand on the issue resulted in China backtracking from its hard stand as its official media was even threatening to wage a war if India did not allow it to construct a road there.

Clean up, beautify Delhi, Sushma tells civic bodies as capital readies to host India-ASEAN summit
  • Delhi has begun gearing up for the India-ASEAN summit that begins on January 19 and will continue till 30th.
    External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday conducted a meeting of all the three MCD (Municipal Corporation) mayors asking them to do a quick Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, conduct massive plantation drives across the city and bring down air pollution levels.
    She also directed them to spruce up historical monuments and tourist spots like Chandni Chowk sparkle where diplomats from 10 nations may be taken to visit.
    All gardens, roadsides and traffic roundabout also have to be beautified immediately, officials quoted her as saying. India is organising the ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit in New Delhi next month.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Philippines recently that this will be "the biggest ASEAN-focused business event the country has ever organised", and representatives from the participating countries will also be invited to the January 26, Republic Day, celebrations.
    Chairman of the standing committee of the NDMC, Tilak Raj Kataria, said a meeting of senior functionaries would be convened to work out a plan on a sanitationcum-beautification drive.
    South Delhi municipal commissioner PK Goel said the minister has directed the SDMC to beautify surroundings around archaeologically significant monuments and tourist places, by nurturing green areas and illuminating monuments.
    "Installation of uniform unipoles and kiosks at designated places, resurfacing of major roads under the jurisdiction of SDMC, beautification of areas around metro stations, and flyovers would also be done," the SDMC said in a statement.
    The SDMC has also been asked to redesign its prominent parks to give them an "ornamental look."
    The historical places and tourist place which are to be given a new look by refurbishing their surroundings, include, Safdarjung's Tomb, Qutub Minar, Nizamuddin Dargah area, Raj Ghat, Humayun Tomb and Lotus Temple.
    The three corporations have also been trying to bring down air pollution levels by closing down polluting factories, halting construction work and sprinkling water on roads and plants.
    High air pollution has been a concern among residing diplomats in Delhi as well with the dean of Diplomatic Corps, Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, meeting officials of the MEA, including chief of protocol Sanjay Verma.

    He raised concerns of envoys over air pollution impacting their health. He shared these concerns after many diplomats based here approached him to raise it with the Centre.

Manmohan Singh awarded Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace for 'momentous' 10 years as PM
  • Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was chosen as the recipient of this year's Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
    Singh received the international award, named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for "improving India's stature in the world" and for his "for his contributions to the cause of economic and social development", a statement from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust said.
    The Trust's statement said Singh was being recognised for the leadership he provided to the country and for his achievements during the "momentous" ten years between 2004 and 2014, when he served as Prime Minister .
    An international jury selects the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development every year. This year's jury, which chose Singh unanimously, was chaired by the former PM's contemporary and ex-President Pranab Mukherjee.
    "The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to Manmohan Singh... for his contributions to the cause of economic and social development, for improving India's stature in the world and its relationship with the neighbours and the leading nations of the world, and for his dedication to the security and well being of ordinary citizens regardless of their faith, caste, region or language," the Trust statement said.
    The Trust also noted that Singh is only the third Indian prime minister to complete two full terms as the Prime Minister and said his tenure witnessed the path-breaking nuclear agreement with the US and the Copenhagen Climate Change agreement.
    "There were improvements in troubled areas within the country, notably Jammy and Kashmir [during Singh's tenure as PM]," the statement added. "The ten years of his prime ministership were not only [a] period of rapid economic and social changes, they witnessed the lowest terrorist violence, prolonged communal harmony, peace on the country's borders and a globally acknowledged rise in India's standing in the global community of nations."
    The Trust, in a short biography of Singh, called the ex-PM a "brilliant student in his earliest days" and noted he had occupied a number of important positions in his career, including that of the Reserve Bank of India governor, chairman of the Planning Commission and chief economic advisor the government.
    Referencing his work as Finance Minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government, the Trust said Manmohan Singh was responsible for "piloting" India's economic liberalisation project and that he "furthered" the reforms during his time as Prime Minister.
    According to a PTI report, the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development was constituted in 1986 and its last two recipients were Indian Space Research Organisation and the UN High Commission for Refugees.
    The announcement of the prize being awarded to Manmomahan Singh came on Saturday, on the eve of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's birthday, which is today.

Govt makes strong pitch for Aadhaar, tells Supreme Court scheme saved India Rs 60,000 crore
  • Making a strong case for Aadhaar cards, the Narendra Modi government has told the Supreme Court that it could save a whopping Rs 59,677 crore through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme in the last three years by weeding out duplication and fake claimants of welfare measures.
    The Centre also said 118.64 crore Indians, which is 88% of the population, had obtained Aadhaar and they used it 1,216.8 crore times for authentication purposes.
    Questioning claims that linking of biometric data collected through Aadhaar to banking, mobile connections and other services was a violation of right to privacy, the government also said over 12.64 crore bank accounts were opened using Aadhaar-based e-KYC (Know Your Customer). The assertion through an affidavit comes ahead of the SC constitution bench hearing which will determine if the mandatory rule to submit personal details including iris scan and fingerprints violate the right to privacy as argued by a host of petitioners who have challenged it.
    Critics say the ID system weaves together enough data to create a full profile of a person's spending habits, their friends, property they own and a trove of other information.
    "There is a clear public interest in ensuring that the various benefits, subsidies and services being offered by the state should reach the intended beneficiary and not to fakes and duplicates, which proliferate in the system leading to loss of crores of rupees of public money", said the affidavit of RP Pant, UIDAI assistant director general, and drafted by the body's standing counsel Zoheb Hossain.
    The unique identification authority had in an earlier instance said public sector oil companies detected around 55,000 duplicate connections on the basis of Aadhaar numbers and once these connections are blocked, it would save the exchequer around Rs 35 crore annually.
    The court should encourage and endorse the use of Aadhaar-based biometric identification to prevent pilferage, leakages and to ensure elimination of bogus or fake persons from the system, it said.
    Seeking to allay fears of data leaks, the UIDAI said "technical architecture of Aadhaar has been structured in such a way, to ensure clear data verification, authentication and de-duplication, while ensuring a high level of privacy and information security."
    The apex court in its August 24 landmark verdict declaring privacy as a fundamental right expressed concerns over inroads made into an individual's right to privacy in the digital age and called for a data protection law proportionate to the purpose for which data is collected and stored.
    "Informational privacy is a facet of the right to privacy. The dangers to privacy in an age of information can originate not only from the state but from non-state actors as well. We commend to the Union government the need to examine and put into place a robust regime for data protection," the SC had said.
    The nine-judge bench of SC while declaring right to privacy a fundamental right has not commented if the Aadhaar scheme was a violation of it, as contended by the petitioners. This question has been delegated to a separate fivejudge bench which will begin hearings soon.
    But a minute reading of the judgment makes it clear that the bench might have left enough loopholes, through reasonable restrictions on the extent to which citizens can enjoy fundamental right to privacy, after which the scheme may have secured a lifeline.
    The judges also said the right to privacy is not absolute and has certain limitations.
    One of the judges, Justice S K Kaul, in the privacy judgment bench even ruled that there is no harm in seeking details in legitimate national security interest, in public interest including for scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes.
    He even said that private information can be elicited for regulatory framework of tax and working of financial institutions and markets.
    The bench said "the legitimate aims of the state would include for instance protecting national security, preventing and investigating crime, encouraging innovation and the spread of knowledge, and preventing the dissipation of social welfare benefits."
    Petitioners including retired Karnataka High Court judge K Puttaswamy, and social activist Aruna Roy said details for Aadhaar are collected by private contractors and NGOs hired by UIDAI without any safeguard, making them prone to misuse.
    They claimed empirical research shows that the biometric identification denoted for UID, namely the iris scan and fingerprint identification, is faulty and could be abused.

ISIS claims Zakura attack; Lakhvi's nephew killed in Bandipora: All that happened in Kashmir in 2 days
  • A day after six Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were gunned down in north Kashmir's Bandipora district, global terror organisation Islamic State today claimed responsibility for the Zakura attack carried out on Friday.
    On the other hand, addressing a joint press conference, Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police and CRPF officials today assured of 'remarkable change' in the Valley.
    Speaking to the media, 15 Corps Commander Lt Gen JS Sandhu and DGP SP Vaid, GOC Victor force, IG Operations CRPF lauded the efforts made by the Indian security forces in sanitising turbulent areas in the Valley and neutralising terror agents.
    Further commending the operative success of the forces in the Bandipora encounter, JS Sandhu said, "All were foreign terrorists... We had launched several operations in Hajin in mid-September and were carrying out search operations on a daily basis, had also inducted special forces into the area. Laud all agencies who worked to ensure the success of the operation."
    Hoping to see Kashmir free of violence, Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid said, "Valley needs to be free from violence, terror, guns and drugs. Wish very soon we can see Kashmir free of violence."
    • Acting on specific inputs, security forces on Saturday cordoned off Chandergeer village in Hajin area of Bandipora to launch a search operation to weed out hiding terrorists.
    • As search operations were going on, the terrorists hiding there fired at the security forces, who retaliated befittingly.
    • All six Lashkar militants were killed in the gunfight, but the forces lost a Garud commando of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Tributes were paid to commando Jyoti Prakash Nirala at Chandigarh Air Force station.
    • Out of the militants killed, one was the nephew of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Apart from him, two top LeT operatives were also killed in the encounter.
    • Some reports claim that separatists have called for a strike today against the killing of LeT militants. Most shops in Srinagar are shut today and public transport has also been affected.
    • Whereas, rail services between Banihal and Baramulla have been suspended for security reasons by the authorities.
    • Addressing the press conference today, JS Sandhu added, "We have killed about 190 terrorists as on date in 2017. Out of these 190, 80 are local terrorists and 110 foreign. Out of these 110, 66 terrorists were killed near the LC while infiltrating."
    • The ISIS propaganda wing Amaq News Agency today claimed the attack in Zakura area of Srinagar on November 17 but security forces deny its credibility.
    • Speaking about the Islamic State imprint in Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir's DGP, S P Vaidya said, "It is yet to be verified. I don't think ISIS has any imprints here."
    • On Friday, a shootout took place in Zakure area during which a police sub-inspector Imran Tak was killed, while an SPO was injured.
    • In retaliatory fire, one militant Mugees Ahmad Mir was killed- whose body was wrapped in ISIS flag during the funeral.

Business Affairs

Black money: Swiss Par panel approves auto information exchange with India
  • Paving the way for India to get instant access to details on Indians with Swiss accounts, a key parliamentary panel in Switzerland has approved an automatic information exchange pact between the two countries.
    The Commission for Economic Affairs and Taxes of the Council of States -- a key panel of the Swiss Parliament's Upper House -- approved the proposed pact with India as also with 40 other countries, but suggested strengthening the provisions for individual legal claims.
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    It has asked the Swiss government to submit to Parliament an amendment "to strengthen concrete individual legal protection and to ensure that no exchange of information can take place for individual cases where a violation of essential legal claims is likely", as per the minutes of its last meeting on November 2.
    The proposal will now be submitted for approval from the upper chamber of Swiss Parliament, the Council of States, in the winter session beginning November 27.
    The pact will help provide a continuous access to details about alleged black money hoarders in once-all-secret Swiss banks. The information that could be exchanged under this framework would include account number, name, address, date of birth, tax identification number, interest, dividend, receipts from insurance policies, credit balance in accounts and proceeds from sale of financial assets.
    The exchange will work like this -- If an Indian has a bank account in Switzerland, the bank concerned will disclose the financial account data to authorities there; the Swiss authority will automatically forward the information to its peer in India who can then examine the person's details.
    To help check cross-border tax evasion, nearly 100 countries, including India and Switzerland, have so far committed to adopt this global standard for the automatic exchange of information (AEOI). However, domestic bank client confidentiality in Switzerland is not affected by the AEOI.
    The keenly-awaited pact, which proposes the automatic information exchange on financial accounts between India and Switzerland with effect from the next year and first exchange of information in 2019, was approved by the Lower House of Parliament, the National Council, in September.
    A major right-wing political party had raised objection to the pact with India and some other countries citing corruption and other risks, but those objections were rejected by a majority in the National Council, where the proposal was discussed by the Committee on Economy and Royalties of the National Council (CER-N), among others.
    While approving the pact, the economic affairs committee of the Upper House has now asked the government to put some additional safeguards in the automatic information exchange framework with India and other countries.
    With regard to the control mechanism decree, it has sought addition of an additional paragraph obliging the Federal Council -- the top decision-making body of the Swiss government equivalent to a Cabinet -- to examine regularly and from the point of view of risks whether the partner states (such as India) still fulfil the decisive conditions and then to consult the competent parliamentary committees.
    "It is thus a question of keeping the countries that can pose problems under the radar of the Federal Council and Parliament," the Council observed.
    It also expressed concern that some people may be persecuted in some foreign countries following the introduction of the automatic information exchange pact and has accordingly suggested stronger legal protection measures.
    Once the pact gets approval from the Upper House of Parliament, the automatic exchange of information will come into effect between India and Switzerland.
    The decision is not subject to any referendum -- which means there should be no further procedural delay in its implementation after parliamentary approval.
    The issue of black money has been a matter of big debate in India, and Switzerland has been long perceived as one of the safest havens for the illicit wealth allegedly stashed abroad by Indians.
    Earlier, while agreeing to the pact with India and other countries in June, Switzerland had sought strict adherence to confidentiality and data security.
    The Swiss government will prepare a situation report before the first exchange of data for which confidentiality and data protection requirements are to be strictly followed.

India moves up one position to 126 in GDP per capita terms: IMF
  • India has moved up one position to 126th in terms of GDP per capita of countries, still ranked lower than all its BRICS peers, while Qatar remains the world's richest on this parameter, as per IMF data.
    The data, which forms part of the latest World Economic Outlook report of the International Monetary Fund, ranks over 200 countries in terms of per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP).
    PPP between two countries is the rate at which the currency of one country needs to be converted into that of a second country to ensure that a given amount of the first country's currency will purchase the same volume of goods and services in the second country as it does in the first.
    India has seen its per capita GDP rise to USD 7,170 in 2017, from USD 6,690 last year, helping improve its rank by a position to 126th.
    Qatar remains top-ranked with per capita GDP of USD 1,24,930, followed by Macao at the second position with USD 1,14,430 and Luxembourg third with USD 1,09,190.
    Among BRICS countries, India has the lowest per capita GDP. Russia boasts of a GDP per capita of USD 27,900, while for China, it stood at USD 16,620, Brazil at USD 15,500 and South Africa at USD 13,400.
    Interestingly, as per a recent Credit Suisse report, India is home to 2.45 lakh millionaires with a total household wealth of USD 5 trillion.
    As per the IMF data, the richest 10 countries in the world in per capita GDP terms also include Singapore (4th, USD 90,530), Brunei (5th, USD 76,740), Ireland (6th, USD 72,630), Norway (7th, USD 70,590), Kuwait (8th, USD 69,670), United Arab Emirates (9th, USD 68,250) and Switzerland (10th, USD 61,360).
    The US has failed to make it to the top 10 and is ranked 13th with a GDP per capita of USD 59,500 while the UK is ranked even lower.
    According to a Fortune magazine report based on the IMF data, several top-ranking countries such as Qatar and Brunei "have fuel and oil propelling their economies", while investment and strong banking systems have helped propel economic growth in other countries like Iceland and Ireland.

Retail inflation expected to rise further, likely to cross 4% in November: Experts
  • Retail inflation, which touched a seven-month high in October, is expected to rise further and cross the 4 per cent mark this month, driven by rise in vegetable and oil prices, experts say.
    According to global financial services majors like Nomura, BofAML and Morgan Stanley, price pressures are likely to build further in the coming months following a cyclical recovery in the economy and rise in vegetable and oil prices.
    "We expect CPI inflation to rise above 4 per cent in November and stay above the RBI's target of 4 per cent through 2018," Nomura said in a research note.
    Stronger food and fuel inflation pushed up headline CPI inflation in October to a 7-month high of 3.58 per cent.
    According to BofAML, November CPI inflation is likely to be around 4.5 per cent.
    It however added that government action, like importing onions and containing hoarding, will be far more effective in containing food prices.
    Retail inflation has been rising consistently since June amid a slowdown in factory output measured on Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
    According to Morgan Stanley economists, besides the rise in food and oil prices, further implementation of HRA-related hikes by more states and across sectors will also fuel inflationary pressures.
    "In the near term, upside risks to inflation could arise due to a further rise in global oil prices, whereas recently announced cut in GST (Goods and Services Tax) rates for most mass consumption items could provide some respite," the global brokerage firm said in a report.
    Retail inflation and GDP growth print due later this month are two main data points the Reserve Bank considers for setting the key interest rate.
    The Reserve Bank of India, in its policy review meet on October 4, kept benchmark interest rate unchanged on fears of rising inflation while lowering growth forecast to 6.7 per cent for the current fiscal.

Card transactions soar 84% in September 2017 to Rs 74,090 crore, says report
  • The debit and credit card transactions have jumped to Rs 74,090 crore in September this year, up a hefty 84 per cent as compared to the same month last year when it stood at Rs 40,130 crore, thanks to the government push for non-cash payments, says a study. The transaction volume at all points of sale (POSes) clipped higher by 86 per cent to 378 million in September this year over the same period last year when it stood at 203 million, European payment solutions provider Worldline said in a weekend report quoting the Reserve Bank data.
    In September 2016 the number stood at 203 million, it added. "With demonetisation, people were pushed to use non- cash modes of payment for everyday expenses. Even after the cash is back to the pre-demonetisation levels, there is a visible growth in card transactions," Deepak Chandnani, chief executive of Worldline South Asia & Middle East, told PTI.
    The push to increase cards usage started with the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in August 2014, the survey said. Total number of cards as of September 2017 stood at 853 million. Of this, 33.3 million were credit cards and 819.8 million were debit cards.
    There was a marked spurt, especially for debit cards, which shot by 39 per cent in 2015 because of the new Jan Dhan accounts. Post-demonetisation, growth has been averaging at 22 per cent, the survey added. The growth of credit cards from 2016 to 2017 has been 24 per cent, higher than the average growth but consistent with the trend of the past few years, the study said. Between 2011 and 2016, credit cards have seen a steady 9 per cent increase.
    The study further said digital payment companies have seen a substantial jump in business following the government's push towards cashless transactions after the note-ban last November, and the major contributor to this growth was online payments.
    According to RBI, after the note-ban, digital transactions rose 31 per cent from last November to this September. Growth rate of the digital payments industry, which was earlier in the range of 20-50 per cent, has accelerated post-demonetisation to over 40 per cent.
    As of September, the number of transactions on the unified payments interface (UPI) jumped 85 per cent in a month. The rise in UPI adoption is also facilitated by the rise in smartphone users and increased availability of 3G and 4G data (89 per cent of total mobile data), the survey said.

    Government seeks Rs 13,000 crore surplus from RBI, says Subhash Chandra Garg
    • The government has not asked the Reserve Bank to pay any special dividend and is only seeking Rs 13,000 crore of surplus lying with the central bank, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg has said.
      In August, the RBI had paid a dividend of Rs 30,659 crore for the fiscal ended June 2017. It was less than half the Rs 65,876 crore it had paid in 2015-16.
      The government had budgeted for a Rs 58,000 crore dividend from the RBI in its Budget for this fiscal year.
      "There is no proposal at this stage to ask for any special dividend. What is being discussed is to only ask for what the RBI earned this year but did not distribute. That is about Rs 13,000 crore. That's what the government has suggested the Reserve Bank to transfer," Garg told PTI.
      RBI's profit was about Rs 44,000 crore, of which Rs 30,000 crore has been distributed and Rs 13,000 crore it retained towards risks and reserves. So the government has made a suggestion that the Rs 13,000 crore may also be transferred, he said.
      The government had last month announced an unprecedented Rs 2.11 lakh crore capital infusion in PSU banks, which are grappling with high non-performing assets (NPAs).
      Asked about the contours of the recap bonds, Garg said "the recapitalisation package is in the final stages. The Department of Financial Services is working on it and soon we would see all these aspects being addressed".
      Of the Rs 2.11 lakh crore, Rs 1.35 lakh crore would be infused through recapitalisation bonds and the remaining Rs 76,000 crore through budgetary support and banks diluting equity in capital market.
      Credit rating agency Moody's had last week upgraded India's sovereign rating after a gap of over 13 years citing reform push and steps being taken by the government to solve the high NPA problems in the banking sector.
      Bad loans in the sector have neared Rs 10 lakh crore.
      Garg said Moody's has acknowledged the reform process and believes that India is in a position to control its debt and put its banking sector in order.
      "The kind and quality of reforms, the boldness of reforms, the structural, fundamental needs of reform is what has persuaded them to believe that India is now on a longer term high growth path ...That (reform) process will continue and I don't see any slackening in reform effort," he said.
      The US-based rating agency cited government efforts to reduce corruption, formalise economic activity and improve tax collection and administration, including through demonetisation and GST, as well as improvements to the monetary policy framework and measures to clean up non- performing loans as reform steps which would foster sustained economic growth.
      On privatisation of Air India, Garg said it is progressing "reasonably steadily" and the plan about how to privatise has also been broadly worked out.
      Asked if it would happen in the current fiscal, Garg said, "I won't put a timeline on when this is likely. Air India is not just one company, there are other assets."
      The government has 'in-principle' decided to disinvest the Air India group as a whole or its constituents fully or part thereof through the strategic sale with transfer of management control.
      Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore.
      The Cabinet, in June, had decided on strategic disinvestment of the loss-making Air India, which is staying afloat on taxpayers' funds, and a ministerial panel is working on the modalities.

    General Awareness

    New global effort launched to end TB by 2030 – WHO

    • World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ministerial Conference “Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response” was held on 16th and 17th November, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. During this conference, delegates from 114 countries agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030.
      What is Tuberculosis (TB)?
      Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease which affects the lung and is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB).
      • Cough, fever, weight loss and night sweats are typical symptoms of TB. It is an airborne disease i.e. transmitted through air.
      • Every year 24thMarch is observed as ‘World Tuberculosis Day’across the world.
      Highlights of WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Tuberculosis:
      During the conference, the delegates promised to strengthen health systems in their respective countries and improve mass access to TB prevention and care.
      • In a bid to close gaps in implementation of programmes to combat TB and carry out related research, delegates agreed to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through domestic and international investments.
      • Enhanced resources allocation will provide a boost to research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB.
      • Over 1000 participants, who attended the conference, also promised to minimize the risk and spread of drug resistance and to gear their efforts for engaging people and communities affected by TB and those who are at risk of TB.
      Ongoing Global Efforts to Combat TB:
      • Since 2000, an estimated 53 million lives have been saved on account of global efforts to combat TB. Besides, the TB mortality rate has also dropped by 37 per cent.
      • However, progress in many countries has lost momentum and still there is lot of ground to be covered for achieving the global targets
      • It is to be noted that TB kills more people than any other infectious disease. Due to its antimicrobial resistance, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is the leading killer of people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

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