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Daily News Analysis 09-12-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Russia wont do anything detrimental to India: envoy (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)     Nuclear Cooperation agreement

c)     Russia – Pakistan framework agreement

a)     Russian Ambassador to India said that Russia is Indias trusted partner and will never do anything harm to Indias security.

b)     He said this in response to questions by journalists on the recently signed framework agreement between Russia and Pakistan. 

c)     He said its just a framework which we have with many countries and does not expect any immediate arms transfers.

d)     He said the request for attack helicopters came from Pakistan but we have not sold any yet.

e)     India has traditionally depended on Russia for most of its weapons imports but in recent years it has been diversifying its purchases. 

f)     On Russia-Pakistan relations, he said that if Moscow and Islamabad had improved relations, it would be easier to influence Pakistan as Russia also had concerns regarding Afghanistan.

g)     On the upcoming visit of Russian President to India, he said the highlight would be the release of a vision document on improving Indias energy security. 

h)     There would be major discussions on expanding nuclear cooperation. Russia has agreed to help set up 14-16 nuclear units. 

2.

US, NATO combat role ends (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     US combat in Afghanistan

b)     NATO

c)     International Security Assistance Forces

d)     Taliban

e)     Al-Qaeda

a)     The US and NATO closed their combat command in Afghanistan, more than 13 years after occupying the country in the wake of the Sept 11 terror attacks to target al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

b)     As NATOs International Security Assistance Forces Joint Command formally ended its deployment, resurgent Taliban militants launched yet another bloody attack in the country.

c)     With President Obama allowing American troops to go after both al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the country into the next year, the fighting likely wont be over anytime soon.

d)     Officials said foreign troops now will focus on training and supporting local Afghan forces, which have led the fight against the Taliban insurgents since mid-2013.

e)     Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told that the group would continue to fight until all foreign troops have left Afghanistan.

3.

China joins efforts to ease Maldives water crisis (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Maldives water crisis

b)     India – Maldives relations

c)     China – Maldives relations

d)     INS Deepak

e)     INS Sukanya

a)     China has sent two plane loads of water to Maldives following an energetic response from India, which delivered another 1000 tonnes of fresh water to the Maldivian capital in response to the crisis.

b)     A marine rescue vessel of the Chinese navy has been sent to dispatch 1000 tonnes of fresh water to Male.

c)     The Chinese govt has also donated $500,000 to the Maldives govt for the repairs of the countrys sole desalination plant, which was extensively damaged in a fire.

d)     Indias large fleet tanker delivered about 900 tonnes of fresh water to the Maldivian capital, while two C-17 planes of the IAF also delivered another 90 tonnes of potable water. 

e)     INS Deepak is capable of producing 100 tonnes of water every day using its on-board desalination plant while INS Sukanya (an Offshore Patrol Vessel) which can produce 20 tonnes of fresh water daily.

f)     The govt of Maldives sought emergency assistance from India, China, Sri Lanka and the US soon after the fire broke out.

4.

Withdrawal symptoms in Afghanistan (Page 9)

a)     International

a)     Afghanistan situation

b)     Terrorism

c)     US combat forces in Afghanistan

d)     NATO

e)     India – Pakistan disputes

f)     Chabahar port

g)     World Bank

h)     IMF

 

a)     A few weeks ago the US and Britain handed over their Marine and Bastion military bases marking the effective end of combat operations by NATO forces in Afghanistan.

b)     Many fear that after the US withdrawal the Taliban will take over southern parts of the country with growing terrorism and insecurity threatening a weak government in Kabul.

c)     In India this is compounded by the fear that Pakistan will take advantage of the situation to expand its influence in Afghanistan in its search for strategic depth.

d)     Afghanistan will then provide a training ground for terrorists who can attack India.

e)     Moreover there is fear that Pakistans all-weather friend (China) may also enter placing our strategic interests and Indian aid projects and investments further at risk.

f)     India has no adjoining land border with Afghanistan.

g)     Development of the Chabahar port in Iran with a road/rail link to Afghanistan has been seen as a solution but that route is long and would pass through insecure regions.

h)     The country is thought to be rich in minerals but we cannot access these.

i)     Not only are they located in remote and dangerous areas but without land access we cannot bring large amounts of ore to India or send the heavy machinery required to mine them.

j)     Pakistan is not likely to allow us transit and the Chabahar route will not have the capacity in the near future.

k)     The same problems arise with the gateway to Central Asia idea - worse because the distances are even longer with poor communications.

l)     Since the Mongol conquest of Afghanistan in the 13th century few foreign powers have got much joy in trying to control the Afghans.

m)     The British tried in the 19th century with little to show for their efforts and more recently, neither the Soviet Union nor the US gained much fame in Afghanistan.

n)     The Afghans have always shown resistance to any foreigner arrogant enough to attack them.

o)     As the US combat mission in Afghanistan ends, the US need for Pakistani cooperation for transit and logistic support will fall quickly.

p)     Joining the American War on Terror in 2001/2002 brought Pakistan huge US military and economic aid as well as quasi-immunity for the military/ISIs use of non-conventional assets.

q)     But after US withdrawal (as happened earlier in the 1990s), US interest in and aid to Pakistan will rapidly decline. So will US tolerance for Pakistans use of terrorism as a proxy weapon.

r)     The recent US Pentagon report on Pakistani support for terrorism is a straw in the wind.

s)     China is unlikely to want to take over the US role in financing Pakistan and there may be limits to Gulf country financing especially with the falling oil price.

t)     Following US withdrawal, Pakistan could continue to use proxy terrorists and chase strategic depth in Afghanistan and look for financial and other support from China, the Gulf, wherever.

u)     Access to World Bank and IMF resources will become more difficult.

v)     This course will prove self-destructive and bring much grief to the countrys people through economic decline and further domestic terrorism but one should never underestimate the foolishness of human beings.  

w)     Let us hope Pakistan could try to become a normal state, seek peace and security at home, good relations with its neighbours and strive for economic growth and rising prosperity for its people.

5.

LS clears Bill to repeal 90 Amendment Acts (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill 2014

b)     Lok Sabha

c)     Parliamentary Standing Committee

 

a)     The Lok Sabha cleared the Repealing and Amending (Second) Bill, 2014 to remove 90 redundant Amendment Acts from the statute book despite a demand from the Congress and the CPI (M) to refer the draft legislation to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

b)     Though not opposed to repealing these Amendment Acts, the Congress and CPI(M) members said that since the Standing Committee was already looking into a similar Bill to repeal several other outdated laws should be referred to it.

6.

Javadekar promises new climate law (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     Climate change

b)     Climate laws in India

c)     Green Climate Fund (GCF)

d)     Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

e)     UNFCCC

a)     Union Minister of State for Environment said India would have new comprehensive climate legislation in the next budget session of Parliament.

b)     He said there was the real issue of climate finance.

c)     While the world had realised the dangers of climate change, the GCF must become a reality.

c)     From 2012, it was expected to start with $10 billion every year to reach $100 billion by 2020 and then continue with $ 100 billion per year. But today the fund stood at just $9.7 billion.

d)     He said there was the issue of the INDCs.

e)     Pointing out that things were very different from Kyoto (2009 UNFCCC) when the world was divided into developing countries and the developed world, he said every country now had to take action and announce it. 

f)     He referred to Indias targets for solar power and the scaling up of solar energy from 20 to 100 GW by 2022 for which an investment of $100 billion was made. 

7.

Being middle class in India (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic growth

b)     Middle class

c)     Urbanisation

d)     Self-identification

 

a)     The rapid growth of the Indian economy over the past three decades has led to a substantial expansion of Indias middle class.

b)     This is a debate with serious implications for economic growth and governance since a range of scholarship in diverse settings has shown that the middle class is an important driver of a countrys economic, political and social development.

c)     Nearly half (49 percent) of all survey respondents believed their family is a middle class family. 

d)     Self-identification as middle class is expectedly more prevalent among urban respondents (56 percent) but the share of rural individuals claiming to be middle class is also remarkably high (46 percent).

e)     47 percent of lower middle-income respondents self-identified as middle class, while half of middle income and 54 percent of upper middle-income respondents did so.

f)     Most surprising 45 percent of those who were in the lowest income bracket self-identify as middle class, barely 3 percent less than the richest income group.

g)     Historically, the middle class construct has been a production of the forces of industrialisation and urbanisation.

h)     The extent of middle class identification is striking, not simply because of its size or the fact that it seems to run counter to households own economic realities but also because it appears to have powerful experiential effects on respondents social attitudes.

i)     They are more optimistic in their assessments of the countrys overall progress and Indias economic conditions as a whole.

j)     The middle class name may also be affecting what people do with their money and how they define their roles in society. 

k)     Three structural changes occurring in India (service-sector led economic growth, rapid expansion of urbanisation and higher education) are undoubtedly resulting in a massive expansion of the middle class. 

l)     The political and social consequences will depend on whether this middle class emerges simply as a social formation or as a self-conscious political force, whether progressive or possibly even reactionary.

8.

Current account deficit widens to $10.1 billion in second quarter (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     Current Account Deficit (CAD)

b)     GDP

c)     Balance of Payments (BoP)

d)      FDI

e)     Foreign exchange reserves

a)     Indias CAD increased to $10.1 billion (2.1 percent of GDP) in the second quarter of this fiscal from $7.8 billion (1.7 percent of GDP) in the preceding quarter and $5.2 billion (1.2 percent of GDP) in the same quarter of 2013-14.

b)     RBI said the increase in CAD was primarily on account of higher trade deficit, contributed by a deceleration in export growth and increase in imports.

c)     On BoP basis, merchandise export growth decelerated to 4.9 percent in the second quarter from 11.9 percent in same quarter in the previous year.

d)     The RBI said net flows through FDI were stable.

e)     Lower CAD and rise in flows under financial account resulted in an increase to Indias foreign exchange reserve to the tune of $18.1 billion in the first half of 2014-15 as against a drawdown of $10.7 billion in the first half of 2013-14.

9.

India sees clear pick-up in growth  momentum: OECD (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

b)     Composite leading indicator (CLI)

c)     IMF

d)     World Bank

e)     RBI

a)     According to Paris-based think tank OECD, India is the only major economy seeing a clear pickup in growth momentum while mixed trends are predicted for developed countries. 

b)     The OECD said growth would continue to lose momentum in Europe.

c)     The readings (for the month of October) are based on CLI, which is designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend.

d)     India is the only major economy where the CLI points to a clear pick-up in growth momentum.

e)     Last month, the OECD said the Indian economy was expected to see an average growth of 6.7 percent over the 2015-19 period, while a further increase would depend on reform plans of the govt.

f)     In October, the IMF and the World Bank projected 5.6 percent growth rate for India this year, citing renewed confidence in the market due to a series of economic reforms followed by the new govt.

g)     Indias economic growth was below 5 percent in the last two financial years.

h)    Recently, the RBI forecast the economy to grow at 5.5 percent in 2014-15 and at 6.3 percent in next financial year. 

10.

New Satellite takes wing (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     S&T    

a)     Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system

b)     GSAT-16

c)     Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

d)     Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)

e)     GSLV Mark III

a)     India has a new bird in the sky, the communication satellite GSAT-16 that was successfully launched aboard Europes Ariane 5 rocket.

b)     GSAT-16 has 48 transponders, the largest number thus far on a communication satellite built by the ISRO.

c)     It will join a constellation of 10 satellites that form the INSAT system.

d)      Its transponders ill provide much-needed augmentation of the existing 188 transponders on the INSAT system that broadcast television programmes, provide educational and tele-medicine services, carry telephone conversations and relay data.

e)     After the PSLV became available in the mid-1990s, the country has not had to look abroad to launch its remote sensing satellites.

f)     The current GSLV has previously been trouble-prone and the version equipped with an indigenous cryogenic stage replacing an imported Russian one made its first successful flight only in Jan this year.

g)     Even if the GSLV becomes a reliable launcher like the PSLV, it can only carry communication satellites weighing up to about 2.2 tonnes.

h)     ISRO has already launched considerably heavier communication satellites on the Ariane 5, including the GSAT-16 that weighs close to 3.2 tonnes.

i)     Had the next-generation GSLV Mark III (which can take four-tonne communication satellites) been operational that launch might have cost only about half as much.

j)     The rockets first experimental launch will therefore be a suborbital one to test its flight characteristics through the atmosphere.

k)     ISRO expects to have the Mark IIIs cryogenic engine and stage ready in two years time.

11.

GSLV Mark-III launch on Dec 18 (Page 10)

a)     S&T

a)     GSLV Mark-III

b)     Satish Dhawan Space Centre

c)     ISRO

a)     ISROs heaviest and upgraded rocket GSLV – Mark III will lift off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on Dec 18.

b)     GSLV Mark III is an experimental launch and only for study purpose. It will not put any satellite in orbit.

12.

Ancient DNA on parchments can reveal agricultural development (Page 7)

a)     S&T

a)     DNA

b)     Parchment

c)     Dead Sea

a)     According to researchers, a new technique to analyse DNA found in millions of ancient parchments (material made from animal skin) that are stored in archives can help scientists find agricultural development across the centuries.

b)     The vital information also comes from the DNA of the parchment on which they are written.

c)     Parchments are an amazing resource for genetic studies that consider agricultural development over the centuries.

d)     Parchment was the writing material of choice for thousands of years, going back to the Dead Sea scrolls.

e)     For the study, the team used state-of-the-art scientific techniques to extract ancient DNA and protein from small samples of parchment from documents from the late 17th and late 18th Centuries.

f)     The resulting information enabled them to establish the type of animals from which the parchment was made.

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