Current Affairs Current Affairs - 21 July 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 21 July 2018

General Affairs 

PM Modi wins trust vote in Lok Sabha; 325 MPs back govt
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the extended Parliament session on Friday said Members of Parliament should reject the No-Confidence Motion. He said the No-Confidence Motion has exposed the kind of opposition some people have towards development. PM Modi mocked Rahul Gandhi over his gesture to make him stand from seat before hugging, saying what is the hurry to get the PM's chair. He said the floor test was not to measure the strength of his government, rather it was a "force test" for the Congress and other Opposition parties.

    Earlier during the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said PM Modi fooled the masses when he said that 2 crore jobs will be created every year while only 4 lakh jobs have been created so far. Taking on the BJP-led government for not bringing in petrol and diesel under the GST, Gandhi said, "GST was brought by the Congress party. You had opposed GST as Gujarat CM." He added that small businesses have been hit by this tax regime.

    The Congress President also attacked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for falsely claiming that there was a secrecy pact between India and France. PM Modi works only for 10-20 businessmen and not for the common man, Gandhi said.

    10.49pm: He (Modi) has not answered a single question raised, says Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha.

    Somebody give Modi a hug and tell him to stop. Yawn! He has not answered a single question raised. Utter nonsense, full-on rhetorical rubbish. Spare the nation, please!

    - Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) July 20, 2018
    10.45pm: Modi says the nation has been misled on the Rafale deal by giving irresponsible statements, and the national security has been compromised.

    10.37pm: PM Modi says, "You called the surgical strike a Jumla Strike. You can abuse me as much as you want but stop insulting the Jawans of India. I will not tolerate this insult to our forces."

    #WATCH PM Modi says, "You called the surgical strike a Jumla Strike. You can abuse me as much as you want but stop insulting the Jawans of India. I will not tolerate this insult to our forces." pic.twitter.com/qQ3rP9Xui5

    - ANI (@ANI) July 20, 2018
    10.36pm: Loans were given over the phone in Congress rule, the web of NPAs was spread during this time:PM Modi in Lok Sabha.

    10.32pm: "I want to share an important data with you. Total Rs 18-lakh crore disbursed as loans to different business houses in the 60 years of independence, but between 2008 and 2014, the amount jumped from Rs 18-lakh crore to Rs 52-lakh crore. How did it happen? The Congress disbursed Rs 34-lakh crore through 'phone banking', whenever some businessman called, his loan was approved. Whenever he had repay the loan, he was given another loan. But we changed the entire system of loan approval," says PM Modi.

    10.26pm: We succeeded in getting all states on-board on GST, says PM Modi.

    10.22pm: Get all the latest update on the No-Confidence Motion against the Modi government.

    #ModiTrustTest Get all the latest update on the #NoConfidenceMotion against Modi government . #ITLivestreamhttps://t.co/smBR7WnzD5

    - India Today (@IndiaToday) July 20, 2018
    10.18pm: What did the Congress do to Charan Singh ji, what did they do to Chandra Shekhar ji, what did they do to Deve Gowda ji, what did they do to IK Gujral ji: PM Modi.

    What did the Congress do to Charan Singh ji, what did they do to Chandra Shekhar ji, what did they do to Deve Gowda ji, what did they do to IK Gujral ji: PM Modi in Lok Sabha #NoConfidenceMotionpic.twitter.com/03Xy2q6q2z

    - ANI (@ANI) July 20, 2018
    10.14pm: It was the Congress Party that had decided to put petroleum products out of the purview of the Goods and Services Tax, says PM.

    10.06pm: We are 'bhagidars' (participants) of the country and 'chaukidars' (guards) too, but not 'saudagars' (businessmen) or 'thekedars' (contractors) like you, says PM Modi, referring to Rahul Gandhi's jibe on him.

    10.04pm: It was the Congress party that decided to keep petrol out of GST, says PM Modi.

    10.00pm: The BJP government has worked towards the electrification of 18,800 villages, which were in darkness for the past 70 years, PM Modi.

    9.45pm: India ranks 6th among fastest growing economies of the world but the Opposition can't recognise such achievements, says PM Modi.

    9.37pm: PM Modi mocks Rahul Gandhi over his gesture to make him stand from seat before hugging, saying what is the hurry to get the PM's chair. Only the electorate of the country can decide his fate and make him sit on his chair, Modi says.

    9.33pm: PM Modi says the no-confidence move has exposed the kind of opposition some people have towards development.

    9.29pm: This is not a floor test but a forced test by the Opposition, says PM Modi.

    9.18pm: The non-confidence motion is an important aspect of our democracy, says PM Modi, requesting members of Parliament to reject it.

    9.03pm: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah says the government must involve Pakistan to bring peace in Kashmir.

    02:00 pm: Rahul Gandhi walks up to Prime Minister and hugs him.

    12:10 pm: Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge accused Speaker Sumitra Mahajan of being unfair in allotting too little time to the opposition in the debate on the no-confidence motion and said the discussion cannot be treated as Question Hour. The 32 minutes allotted to his party is grossly inadequate, Kharge said. A few minutes to each speaker is not enough to raise the host of issues, including those affecting farmers, women and Dalits, he added. Some parties have been allotted 25 minutes and some just 15 minutes, Kharge pointed out. 

    12:00 pm: Shiv Sena MPs will not attend Lok Sabha today, news agency ANI reports. "We haven't even signed our attendance," Sena MP Anandrao Adsul told ANI. The proceedings in the Lok Sabha has already begun. Earlier, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked its MPs to abstain from the no-confidence motion.

    11:45 am: We are with the government, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on being asked about the JD(U)'s stand on no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha

    11:40 am: TDP MP Jayadev Galla continues to speak even after 13 minutes. "You are (PM) singing a different tune, which the people of Andhra Pradesh are keenly observing and they would give a befitting reply in the upcoming polls. If people of Andhra are cheated, the BJP will be also decimated in the state like the Congress. Mr PM, it's not a threat, it's a shraap (curse)," he says

    11:10 am: BJD walks out ahead of trust vote

    11:05 am: Trust vote to be conducted at 6 pm

    10:30 am: BJP chief Amit Shah reaches Parliament and flashes victory sign. PM Modi has called for a meeting of his top ministers at 10.30 am to discuss the no-confidence motion.

Rs. 3 Crore In Demonetised Notes Seized In Maharashtra; 5 Detained
  • Nearly Rs. 3 crore in demonetized notes were seized from five people, one of them a Congress councillor from Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, police said today.
    According to the Khadak police station, Gajendra Abhang, a Congress corporator from the Sangamner Municipal Council, is one of the five people who were in Raviwar Peth area to exchange the scrapped notes and were detained by cops last night.

    The others were identified as Vijay Shinde, 38, Aditya Ghavan, 25, and Navnath Bhandagale, 28, all from Pune, and one Suraj Jagtap, 40, from Satara district.

    "Acting on a tip-off, we detained all five people from Raviwar Peth area when they came to exchange the notes," said a senior official of the Khadak police station.

    A probe is underway to find out whom they wanted to exchange the demonetised notes with, he said.

    "They were found in possession of 48,000 demonetised notes, all in denominations of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000, and their total (face) value stood at Rs. 2.99 crore," he added.

    The police have registered a non-cognisable offence under relevant sections of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017.

    The official said the Income-Tax department has been notified about the seizure.

"How Can I Look You In The Eye?" PM's Comeback After Rahul Gandhi Attack
  • A surprise hug from Rahul Gandhi in parliament today did nothing to soften Prime Minister Narendra Modi's return fire hours later during a debate on the opposition-backed no-confidence motion against his government.
    PM Modi's stinging point-by-point rebuttal did not spare either Congress president Rahul Gandhi or his mother Sonia Gandhi.

    "In the morning, the voting was not over, the debate was also not over, one member comes running to me saying - Utho Utho Utho (up, up, up). What is his hurry to come to power? Let me tell this member it is the people who elected us. That is how we have come here," PM Modi said in what was seen as his barb at Rahul Gandhi.

    He also mimicked Rahul Gandhi's wink after the hug, using his hands, and pummeled him with the phrase: "Bachkani harkat (childish antics)".

    Earlier today, Rahul Gandhi had stunned everyone when he crossed the floor and hugged PM Modi, declaring that he felt nothing but love for him. The Prime Minister had remained seated as he called the Congress chief back, pulling him by his sleeve, said something to him and patted him.

    Just before that exchange, Rahul Gandhi had launched a sharp attack on the PM over the Rafale deal and also said: "You can't look me in the eye."

    The Prime Minister ripped into that comment and every other dig that Rahul Gandhi made.

    "Who are we to look you in the eye? I am from a humble family, you are naamdaar, we are kaamdar. We don't have the guts to look you in the eye,"  said PM Modi, using the comment to drive home his point that the Congress had always been a bully. "Look what happened to people who tried to look you in the eye. They were humiliated...Charan Singh, Sardar Patel, Morarji Desai, Chandra Shekhar, Sharad Pawar..."

    As he dwelled on theme of Congress arrogance, he even reminded Sonia Gandhi of her famous comment in 1999, when the Congress moved a no-confidence motion against the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government: "We have 272 and more are coming."

    Referring to the former Congress president's latest comment, on today's no trust vote, he said: "I read in the newspaper, they said 'who said we don't have the numbers?' Such arrogance."

    PM Modi also rebutted Rahul Gandhi on his "jumla strikes" and "bhagidar" (collaborator) and not a 'chowkidar (watchman)" comments.

    "Yes, I am bhagidar, but not thekedar (middlemen) like you," he said.

    3 COMMENTS
    He lashed out at Rahul Gandhi over his Rafale allegations, saying: "We must refrain from making childish statements on sensitive issues. There was an agreement between two responsible governments. Because of one careless allegation in the House on Rafale, two nations had to release statements."

    After PM Modi's speech, that went on for an hour and a half, the government was able to easily defeat the opposition-backed no-confidence motion 325-126. 451 members were present in the Lok Sabha and the half-way mark was 226.

Flexi-Fare Scheme Faulty, Airlines Cheaper Mode For Travel: CAG
  • In a strong rebuke to the railways' flexi-fare system, the CAG has warned the scheme could "force" passengers to opt for airlines, noting that the national transporter had already lost its premium train patronage to other mail and express trains.
    The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report for year ending March 2017, has stated that while the introduction of the flexi-fare system in premium trains Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto has led to increase in passenger earnings in this category of trains to Rs. 552 crore, they have carried 6.75 lakh fewer travellers during September 9, 2016 to July 31, 2017, compared to the corresponding period in 2015-2016.

    "Wherever dynamic/enhanced fare was introduced, the occupancy was very low. However, this aspect was not taken into consideration while introducing the flexi fare system in all Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains irrespective of demand and occupancy.

    "Even in AC 3 class, which was one of the most profitable classes, the occupancy dropped significantly after the introduction of flexi fare and the vacant berths increased from 0.66 per cent in pre-flexi period to 4.46 per cent in post-flexi period," the report stated.

    In terms of absolute numbers, the premier trains carried 2.40 crore passengers during post-flexi period (September 9, 2016 to July 31, 2017) as compared to 2.47 crore passengers during pre-flexi period (September 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016), said the CAG in its report.

    "The occupancy of mail and express trains in the routes of premium trains run was found to be much more than the premium trains during the months test checked (October 2016 and February 2017). As such, passengers preferred to travel by mail and express trains over Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains despite a higher travel time," the auditor said.

    It also stated that a comparison with air fare for 13 sectors showed that travelling in an aeroplane was cheaper than in train for a large number of routes.

    When compared to the cost and time taken for travel by premium trains, air fare became a cheaper and preferable mode of travel, the auditor said.

    "While in air fares the prices of tickets increase with increase in demand, in flexi fare, there is a fixed increase in fares after every 10 per cent of the tickets booked irrespective of the demand. By paying a higher price for an air ticket, a passenger is ensured a confirmed seat, but a passenger who purchases a waitlisted train ticket by paying a higher amount does not have an assurance of confirmed ticket.

    "Thus, charging a higher fare without providing confirmed seat/berth would force passengers to explore other available alternatives," the report stated.

    The CAG also conducted a survey among 806 passengers in 16 Shatabdi and 11 Rajdhani trains during April and May 2017. To the question 'Given the travel time, flexi fare without value addition, would you prefer to travel by flight/bus', 497 passengers (62 per cent) replied in affirmative, the CAG found.

    Even after introduction of flexi-fare, punctuality of trains has not been maintained, it observed.

    The proposal to introduce flexi fare structure in Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains was mooted in August 2016 by the Railway Board in order to achieve the additional revenue generation of Rs. 5,800 crore in the passenger earnings.

    The Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains running in most sectors were highly popular with high average occupancy and contributed about 12 per cent of total Passenger Reservation System (PRS) earnings, the CAG stated, questioning the judiciousness of the decision to introduce the system, which can lead up to 50 per cent increase in the base fare.

    The CAG said that the national transporter needs to review the scheme so that not only revenue but also the number of passengers increase.

    "There is a need for review and fine-tuning in the scope of the scheme so that not only more revenue is earned but a number of passengers also increase, thus, further enhancing revenue," said the report.

    The railway board in its reply to CAG has stated that a committee has already reviewed the scheme and submitted its report in January 2018 and their recommendations are under the consideration of the ministry.

Nirmala Sitharaman's Forceful Comeback To Rahul Gandhi's Rafale Charge
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today termed as "absolutely wrong" Congress President Rahul Gandhi's claim that there was no confidentiality clause in the Rafale aircraft deal with France and said the initial agreement was signed when the UPA was in power in 2008.
    Ms Sitharaman was making an intervention after Mr Gandhi attacked the Modi government and the defence minister on the Rafale deal during the debate on no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha and alleged that she had spoken "untruth" when she claimed that the Indian government could not reveal details of the deal due to a confidentiality clause in the agreement with France.

    The minister said the India-France agreement to buy the fighter jets was signed in 2008 by the then-defence minister AK Antony and it had the confidentiality clause.

    "It was an agreement of secrecy. Protection of classified information. I am not privy to what the French President told Rahul Gandhi. But I am referring to two particular interviews that the French President had given to Indian TV channels.

    "In the interviews, the French President had said that commercial details of the Rafale deal cannot be revealed," she said.

    Mr Sitharaman quoted the French President as saying in the interviews while replying to specific questions about the Rafale deal: "You have these commercial agreements and obviously you have competitors and we cannot reveal the details".

    The Defence Minister said, "Whatever Rahul Gandhi said was absolutely wrong and there is no proof."

    Participating in the debate, Mr Gandhi accused the defence minister of speaking "untruth" on the deal.

    "The Defence Minister has spoken 'untruth'.... The French prime minister has personally told me that there is no secret pact between Indian and French governments," he said demanding that the prime minister answer why this contract was given to a particular businessman after taking it away from PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

    "Everybody understands the relationship the prime minister has with certain people. Everybody understands the amount of money that goes into the marketing of the prime minister and everybody knows who have funded that. One of those people was given the Rafale contract.... The gentleman benefited to the tune of Rs. 45,000 crore," he alleged.

    India had signed a government-to-government deal with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of about Rs. 58,000 crore.

    The Congress has been demanding that its details be made public, alleging that the deal negotiated under its rule was.

Business Affairs

Wipro posts Rs 2,121 crore net profit in Q1, beats estimates
  • India's third-largest software services exporter Wipro on Friday posted a 2 per cent rise in net profit for the first quarter of current fiscal year. The profits, beating estimates, were helped by higher revenue from its banking, financial services and insurance business (BFSI).

    The Bengaluru-headquartered IT firm said that net profit for the three months to June 30 rose to $307.55 million (Rs 2,120.8 crore). Revenue from IT services grew by about 5 percent to $2 billion. The EPS or earnings per share for the quarter stood at Rs 4.71 per share, an increase of 9.9 per cent year-on-year.

    "We have seen pickup in spending in the developed markets, particularly in North America and BFSI. Our investments in Digital continue to help us build differentiation in key industry segments, which is resulting in a consistent improvement in our client metrics. We have had a good quarter of order bookings and I am confident we are moving in the right direction," said Wipro CEO and Member of the Board Abidali Z. Neemuchwala.

    Wipro said it has partnered US-based Alight Solutions to take over the latter's captive operations in India - Alight HR Services India - for a consideration of $117 million. The cash transaction is expected to be completed during the September quarter, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, Wipro said in a BSE filing.

    "This strategic partnership will enable Alight to accelerate investment in consumer-facing technologies and services across its health, wealth and cloud businesses by leveraging Wipro's industry-leading strengths in automation, machine learning and data analytics," it added.

    Wipro's focus will be to modernise Alight's core technology assets and further automate its operations to enhance the user experience of Alight's end customers, it said.

    Alight HR Services India (formerly known as Aon HR Services India) was set up in September 2016.

    It has about 9,000 employees and registered revenue of Rs 1,132 crore in 2017-18. It has centres in Gurugram, Noida, Mumbai and Chennai.

    Alight Solutions provides administration and cloud-based HR and financial solutions to 1,400 clients serving 19 million employees.

    "Our partnership with Wipro enables us to leverage Wipro's unmatched innovation and leadership in automation and digital technologies, while increasing our investments to harness market trends and deliver even better solutions for our clients as their needs and those of their people evolve," said Chris Michalak, CEO of Alight Solutions.

Facebook & WhatsApp! Stop paying lip service. Here's what you should do to stop fake news
  • Under fire in their large markets-India, Asia and Africa-for inadvertently propagating fake news, Whatsapp and its owner Facebook have made conciliatory noises about their desire to stop the menace. So far, they seem to be paying lip service rather than taking the threat seriously.

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said: "There are certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm, and we are making a policy change which will enable us to take that type of content down". Facebook plans to review misleading or inaccurate content that can cause physical harm. This will be done in association with local law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    Meanwhile, WhatsApp, which is under attack for causing 39 incidents of lynching deaths in India in the past two months due to mass misinformation on its platform, has come up with its own measures. It is testing limiting the forwards on the platform. WhatsApp plans the lowest limit of just 5 chats at once for Indian users since Indians are the biggest users of the forwarding feature, sending videos, photos and messages.

    But both are futile exercises and will not deliver the results they are supposed to. Consider the 5 simultaneous chats limit: Each chat group on WhatsApp can have a maximum of 256 members. Hate-mongers can create multiple such groups. One message to 5 chat groups of 256 each reaches 1280 people in one shot. If those 1280 receivers also send to 5 chat groups of 256 each, hypothetically, in just 2 forwards a hate message could reach over a 1.6 million and will then continue to multiply exponentially.

    That makes you wonder the intent behind the trial run! Why suggest something that is bound to fail at the start? WhatsApp issued a blog saying: "We built WhatsApp as a private messaging app - a simple, secure and reliable way to communicate with friends and family. And as we've added new features, we've been careful to try and keep that feeling of intimacy which people say they love. We believe that these changes - which we'll continue to evaluate - will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app." Essentially, that implies that changes will be minimal.

    Zuckerberg's claim to identify messages that can do physical harm is also unbelievable. By the time such a message is identified-if at all-the harm may have already been done. So are these statements only meant to fend off charges? It appears so. Especially, since the government on Thursday sent another notice to WhatsApp to identify more effective methods to deal with the problem.

    But there's a lot that both WhatsApp and Facebook can both do-but are not doing. Instead of creating artificial barriers to spread of fake news which would inconvenience millions, it's better to deploy technology smartly.

    These platforms need to give the users the option to identify and 'flag' a message that is potentially dangerous.

    The platform's AI engine should watch out for such flagging-grading it to 5 per cent of the users participating, 10 per cent of users participating in the message and so on... and alerting fact-checkers.

    Since such messages spread like wildfire, the AI engine can slow down or defer the spread of such messages (by between 15 mins to 2 hours) the moment such flagging by users reaches a threshold limit (let's assume 10 per cent of users involved)-until humans can verify the content.

    But what is most critical is to hotlist the participants of such messages. Observing such participants over a period of time will help the platforms grade them from GREEN (least dangerous) to RED (most dangerous) depending on the number of such messages the person has been part of.

    Their grading should be visible not just to that individual but to all users on the platform.

    Facebook and WhatsApp can then decide when to warn such users, when to red-card such users and when to block such users.

    But to begin with, it needs to identify all those involved in the 29 lynching death incidents in the past 2 months and red-card them or block them. This will disrupt services of some so-called 'innocent forwards' but it's a small price to pay for being party to a heinous crime.

    Fake news, by its very nature can't be controlled with a top-down approach that Facebook and WhatsApp are trying to adopt. Instead, it needs a bottoms-up approach. It needs to be crowd-attacked.

Here's how data analytics is helping government in increasing tax base
  • The income tax department's action plan for 2018-19 reveals that it is aggressively using data analytics to not just get to the tax evaders but also widen the tax base.

    While the action plan says that about 1.06 crore new filers (persons who were not included in the filer base as at the beginning of the year and had filed returns during the year) were added during 2017-18, it is planning to include 1.25 crore more in the current fiscal.

    And big data is playing a big role in achieving this goal. The action plan of the department points out that "New opportunities for identification of potential tax payers have opened up due to data mining and data analytics conducted by the Systems Directorate, Directorate of Intelligence and Criminal Investigation, Investigation Wing and TDS/TCS charges."

    It goes on to say that the effective utilisation of these data by the field officers would result in identification of a large number of potential tax payers. In addition to disseminated data, local intelligence, inputs from market associations, trade bodies and professional bodies should also be gathered and used to identify non-filers.

    Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) has emerged as powerful instrument for preventing tax evasion, widening the tax base and augmenting revenues over the years. TDS accounted for 41 per cent of the overall gross direct taxes collections during FY 2017-18.

    The department is also utilising big data to increase collection from international taxation. It is using data extracted from details in Form 15CA/CB, which are filed by persons remitting funds overseas with or without tax withholding.

    According to the action plan, a major part of collections in international taxation charges comes from tax withheld from remittances made to non-residents. It says that the verification of remittance data carried out last year has highlighted the need to apply more focused and effective risk parameters in selecting high-risk data for verification.

Over 2,400 IAS, IPS posts vacant in country, says govt; know the eligibility criteria
  • Thousands of candidates take the UPSC exam every year to get into IAS and IPS, but very few are successful. Despite the huge interest, you will be surprised to know that as many as 2,400 IAS and IPS posts are currently vacant.

    Total 22.11 per cent seats of the sanctioned strength of 6,553 IAS posts are vacant in India. Not only this, 19.64 per cent seats of the total sanctioned strength of 4,940 posts of IPS officers are also yet to be filled. Revealing this information on Friday, Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, said there are over 2,400 posts of IAS (Indian Administrative Services) and IPS (Indian Police Services) officers vacant in the country.

    Singh said that total 1,449 IAS and 970 IPS posts are still vacant. On the question over when these posts would be filled, the Minister replied: "the occurrence of vacancies and its filling up is an ongoing process."

    Every year the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), India's premier central recruiting agency, conducts written exams and interviews for various vacant posts of IAS, IFS, IRS and others. Under the exam, aspiring candidates have to clear three levels -- preliminary and personality test or interview -- to become eligible for these top-level administrative services.

    Eligibility criteria

    Candidate should be a citizen of India.
    Refugees from Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet and Indian origin immigrants can also apply after showing eligibility certificate.
    Candidate should have a graduation degree from a recognised university.
    Age should be between 21 years and 32 years (Reserved categories are provided age relaxation as per the government norms).
    The number of attempts for General Category is 6, for OBC 9, and there's no bar on the number of attempts for SC/SC candidates.

Reliance Jio fastest in 4G download speed, Airtel on second spot, says TRAI data
  • Recovering from a two-month slump, Reliance Jio touched 22.3 mpbs data speed in June 2018. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) data showed that when it comes to download speed in 4G providers, Jio is way ahead of its competitors. Airtel is a far second with 4G download speed of 9.7 mbps, with Vodafone and Idea close in the heels at speeds of 6.7 mbps and 6.1 mbps respectively. However when it came to upload speeds, the tables were turned. With 5.9 mbps speed, Idea was on top of the uploading speed list. Idea was followed by Vodafone with 5.3 mbps, Jio with 5.1 mbps and Airtel with 3.5 mbps.

    In May this year, Reliance Jio had recorded 19 mbps but made an overwhelming recovery the following month. Airtel, too, saw an increase in speeds from 9.3 mbps. Vodafone and Idea, however, saw a slight decrease in speeds from 6.8 mbps and 6.5 mbps respectively.

    When it came to 3G download speeds, Idea and Airtel were at par, followed by Vodafone slightly after. BSNL was the last on the list. Vodafone was the leader in 3G upload speed, followed by Idea, BSNL and finally, Airtel.

    Jio, already the leader in 4G speeds is on its way to disrupt the broadband market as well. During RIL's 41st AGM, the Ambanis announced a game-changer - fixed line broadband service, JioGigaFiber that will offer fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband connections. Starting August 15, those interested can register through MyJio or Jio.com. Locations from where they get maximum registration will see an early roll out of JioGigaFiber.

    But in this turf war, Bharti Airtel will not let its piece of the pie go so easily. It is beefing up for this war by setting aside a chunk of its Rs 24,000-crore capex guidance for FY19 for expansion. The company currently has its broadband presence in 89 cities, which they are planning to expand to 100, with a primary target of big data consumption zones. It also has plans to connect 10 million homes by FY21, which should boil down to around 3 to 5 million new home service customers.

General Awareness

    Nelson Mandela International Day
    • Context: Nelson Mandela International Day 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918).

      What is Nelson Mandela International Day?

      Nelson Mandela International Day is a global event held annually to honor former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.
      The event started after the Nelson Mandela Foundation and 46664, a concert series that benefits AIDS victims referencing Mandela’s prison number 46664, first proposed the idea of a worldwide day honoring the work and legacy of Nelson Mandela in April 2009.
      The first Mandela Day was held on Mandela’s 91st birthday on July 18, 2009 to promote volunteering and community service, being marked worldwide with community service events, art exhibits, fundraisers and a concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
      The United Nations soon took interest and supported the idea of a global day honoring Mandela, declaring in November 2009 the marking of July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day.

      Who was Nelson Mandela?

      Nelson Mandela was the former President of South Africa as well as an anti-apartheid activist, philanthropist and political leader.
      Mandela emerged as a key leader in the resistance to racist apartheid laws, being arrested multiple times and later being sentenced to life in prison in 1964 after being trialed for conspiring to overthrow the government.
      Amid growing pressure both internally and throughout the world, the South African government finally released Mandela after 27 years in 1990. He soon worked alongside President F.W. de Klerk to dismantle the apartheid regime in 1991 and usher in the peaceful 1994 general election in which he was elected as the country’s new president.
      During his presidency from May 1994 to June 1999, Mandela worked to promote racial reconciliation, fight poverty and expand healthcare for all South Africans. After leaving office, he remained active in many philanthropic efforts throughout the world, particularly ending the HIV/AIDS crisis and reducing poverty.
      For his efforts promoting social justice, democracy and peace, he was awarded dozens of prestigious accolades, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

      What’s important?

      For Prelims: Mandela Day.
      For Mains: Nelson Mandela- legacy and achievements.

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    Current Affairs - 21 October 2018

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