UPSC Daily Current Affairs-17th July 2018

www.iasinsights.in; www.iasgyaan.com posts UPSC Daily current Affairs -17th July 2018. This info is taken from News papers, PIB, AIR News and Summarized for your easy understanding.

Daily Current Affairs -17th July 2018

GS-I(History)

17 July 1835-Death of freedom fighter Tirot Sing
  • U Tirot Sing Syiem was a Khasi chief and one of the greatest freedom fighters of the country. He belonged to the Syiemlieh clan and was the Syiem or king of Nongkhlaw, a region in the Khasi hills of Meghalaya. Image result for Tirot Sing
  • In 1826, the British had concluded the Treaty of Yandabu which gave them a stronghold over the Brahmaputra Valley. The Surma Valley (in Assam and partly in Bangladesh) had also become a possession of the British. They now wanted to link these two regions for easier transport and strategic purposes. For this, they had to construct a road through the Khasi Hills.
  • The political agent of the British, David Scott, requested Tirot Sing for permission to construct a road cutting through the hills which belonged to the Khasis.
  • Scott proposed that in lieu of the permission, Tirot Sing would be given control of the duars (passes into Assam) and also assured of free trade in the region.
  • After consultation with his durbar, Tirot Sing consented to the British proposal.
  • After the construction of the road started, the Raja of Ranee Balaram Singh disputed Tirot Sing’s possession of the duars and claimed them for himself.
  • Tirot Sing expected the British to stick to their word and support him, but instead, they blocked his entry.
  • Also, Tirot Sing received the news that the British were bringing in reinforcements from Guwahati and Sylhet. This led Tirot Sing to ask the British to leave Nongkhlaw. The British paid no attention to the orders and continued to remain in their post.
  • On 4 April 1829, Khasi forces under Tirot Sing attacked the British garrison. Two officers were killed in the attack.
  • The British retaliated immediately. In the fighting that ensued, the Khasis, though brave and fearless, could not match up to the modern firearms of their enemies. Despite this, Tirot Sing and his troops carried on guerrilla warfare with the British for four years. The British were thoroughly shaken by the Khasis.
  • Sustaining a bullet injury, Tirot Sing hid in a cave in the hills. However, he was betrayed and captured by the British in January 1833. After a trial, he was deported to Dhaka, Bangladesh. There, he died in captivity on 17thJuly 1835.
  • The state of Meghalaya observes the 17th of July as U Tirot Sing Day every year.
  • It is unfortunate that the story of this brave freedom fighter is unknown to most Indians.

GS-II(Governance)

SC lashes out at Centre on pollution
  • The Supreme Court’s Green Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta made this clear to the government while hearing the issue of ban on import of petcoke — a toxic fuel used in hazardous industries.

Background:

  • The court has been urging the government since December 2017 to move forward towards a nationwide ban on the use of petcoke and furnace oil to power up industries in a bid to fight pollution.
  • SC already ordered a ban on the industrial use of petcoke and furnace oil in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
  • Earlier, the apex court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), in its report to the apex court, had recommended that the distribution, sale and use of furnace oil and petcoke be strictly banned in NCR.
  • The ban on use came after an EPCA Report, including the ban on sale, distribution and use of furnace oil and petcoke in the NCR. Their use is already prohibited in Delhi.
  • Under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; monitoring and compliance is being ensured through concerned State Pollution Control Board.

Why Petcoke and furnace oil?

  • Petroleum coke or petcoke and furnace oil which are by-product of crude refining process are also used as fuel by several industries/boilers.
  • They contribute for highest carbon emissions.

Uttarakhand to Introduce Law to Give Death Penalty to Rapists of Minor Girls

  • The state government will bring a legislation in the next session of the state assembly to make a provision for capital punishment for the rapists of minor girls.
  • The state government will ensure that those who perpetrate rape on minor girls are sent to the gallows. Efforts are underway to make strict laws in this regard so that such crimes are reined in
  • A legislation will be brought in the next session of the state assembly to make an Act in this regard, he added.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana have already approved the provision of capital punishment for those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 years or less.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which provides for stringent punishment, including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years, will be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning July 18.

To instil discipline, nationalism: Govt discusses military training plan for disciplined 10-lakh ‘force of youth’

  • The government has discussed a proposal to target 10 lakh young men and women every year with a military training programme
  • Billed as the National Youth Empowerment Scheme or N-YES, aimed at “optimizing the Indian demographic advantage”, it proposes a slew of incentives to students fresh of Class X and XII and, currently, enrolled in college.
  • The incentives include a fixed stipend for the 12-month training and making N-YES an “essential qualification” for jobs in Defence, paramilitary forces and police.
  • According to the proposal, the scheme will instil values of nationalism, discipline and self-esteem into the youth, which, in turn will help make India a “Vishwaguru”
  • To finance this scheme, it was proposed that the government could use the existing budget meant for NCC and National Service Scheme (NSS), funds available with the Skill Development Ministry and also MNREGA funds.

CIC bilingual mobile app launched

  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) has launched a newly updated version of mobile app in Hindi also, – “CIC App”, which is available in Google Play Store and Apple store with the following features:
  1. Applicant can submit his/her 2nd Appeal(s)/ Complaint(s) / link paper(s) in both the languages i.e. in Hindi and English
  2. The appellant can search and trace dak, 2nd Appeal/Complaint in both the languages.
  3. Real time status is available in both the languages (Hindi & English)
  4. Appellant can download copy of Hearing notice, Facilitation memo & decision.

Child care institutions to be registered in 1 month

  • The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has directed state governments to ensure that all the child care institutions should be registered and linked to CARA within the next one month.
  • Taking cognizance of the recent cases of illegal adoptions carried out by Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has instructed the states to get child care homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately.
  • The mandatory registration of CCIs and linking to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been provided in Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 which came into force more than two years ago but some orphanages had challenged the validity of this clause.
  • Since then, approximately 2300 child care institutions have been linked to CARA and about 4000 are still pending for linkage.
  • Minister has also expressed displeasure that even the 2300 institutions that have been linked to CARA, the children available in these institutions have still not been brought into on the adoption system.

GS-II(International Affairs)

Faster visas for minorities from three nations

  • The Home Ministry has further liberalized the process for granting long-term visas (LTVs) to minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  • The Home Ministry has reduced the time limit for security clearance of applicants from 45 days to 21 days.
  • After an application reaches the central system, it’s forwarded to three agencies for verification — the State government, the Intelligence Bureau and the Home Ministry.
  • The State government, through the local police, has to run a background check on the applicants who has applied for an LTV. If the State doesn’t reply within 21 days, the system will log them out and the application will be deemed to be cleared.

About LTV’s:

  • Since 2011, nearly 30,000 Pakistanis had been granted LTVs and, currently, 1,500 such applications were pending. The LTVs are precursors to citizenship, based on the report given by the State governments.
  • The visa facility, first introduced in 2011 for persecuted Hindus from Pakistan in 2011, was further liberalized after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014. The LTVs granted to Pakistani Hindus from 2011 to 2014 stood at 14,726.
  • In 2015, the government granted concessions to Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Afghanistan nationals belonging to the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian and Jain communities, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, in respect of their entry and stay in India without proper documents or after the expiry of relevant documents.
  • It also empowered revenue authorities in some States, not including Assam, to allow them to register properties and take up employment.

India, Iran looking at European assurances on US sanctions

  • India and Iran are looking closely at European assurances that can salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iranian nuclear deal
  • Both sides are looking at “experiences” from the past — when Iran was under sanctions by the US, UN and European Union — and want to develop banking mechanism to deal with the impending sanctions.
  • The first set of sanctions are set to kick in on August 6, which will cover banking channels, and the second set will kick in November, which will cover other areas like petroleum, insurance, infrastructure etc.
  • The restrictions were announced in May when the US withdrew from JCPOA. Other signatories to the deal —Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France — have refused to leave the nuclear agreement and introduce sanctions against the country.

GS-III(Economy)

U.S. team begins audit of DGCA

  • United States aviation regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has started a four-day audit of its Indian counterpart, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • The main objective is to verify if Indian aviation sector is on par with International rules and norms.

Background:

  • The FAA audit comes months after a comprehensive safety oversight audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization in November last year.
  • This is the third audit by the FAA since 2013, when the American regulator downgraded the safety ranking of the Indian aviation sector for failure to meet international norms.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the Indian governmental regulatory body for civil aviation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • This directorate investigates aviation accidents and incidents.
  • It is headquartered along Sri Aurobindo Marg, opposite Safdarjung Airport, in New Delhi.
  • The Government of India is planning to replace the organization with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), modelled on the lines of the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

India Approves Accession to WIPO Internet Treaties

  • The Indian cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved India’s accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (collectively known as the WIPO Internet Treaties).

What is WIPO Internet Treaties?

  • The WIPO Internet Treaties lay down an international framework for preventing the unauthorized access to and use of creative works on the internet and other digital networks.
  • It was concluded in 1996 and came into force in 2002.
  • In 2012, India amended its copyright law to comply with the WIPO Internet Treaties, but strangely never acceded to it, because of which it has drawn considerable international criticism, especially from the US.

Special 301 report and its connection to WIPO

  • The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has recurrently placed India as a priority watch list country under its annual Special 301 Report.
  • Since 2003, one of the primary reasons for India’s designation as a priority watch list country under the Special 301 Report has been its non-accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties.
  • Even the US Chambers of Commerce’s International IP Index has ranked India in the bottom rung of countries because of its non-accession to the Treaties, apart from other reasons.

Why India suddenly gave its accession?

  • According to IP chapter of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, acceding to the Treaties is a prerequisite for signing the RCEP.
  • The RCEP is a proposed mega-regional free trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and six other countries with which ASEAN has free trade agreements. The RCEP is decisive for India to execute its Act East Policy, a strategic initiative to boost its hegemony in Southeast Asia. It is perhaps because of this that the government has finally decided to accede to the Treaties after a six-year inexplicable delay since the enactment of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012.

IMF cuts India growth forecast for 2018 by a notch to 7.3%

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a growth rate of 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019 for India as against 6.7% in 2017, making it the fastest growing country among major economies.
  • The latest growth rate projection for India is slightly less — 0.1 percentage point in 2018 and 0.3 percentage points in 2019 — than its April projections.
  • Growth in China is projected to moderate from 6.9% in 2017 to 6.6% in 2018 and 6.4% in 2019.

Why cut down in India’s growth projection?

  • Negative effects of higher oil prices on domestic demand
  • Faster than-anticipated monetary policy tightening due to higher expected inflation

GS-III(Science & Technology)

Army to resume M777 trials

  • The Army will resume the trials of the U.S.-made M777 Ultra-Light Howitzer (ULH) in Pokhran firing range.
  • The trials were suspended last September after barrel of a gun burst during firing.
  • In November 2016, India signed a deal with the U.S. government under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme for 145 M777 guns at a cost of $737 million.

M777 Ultra-Light Howitzer

  • The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece. It succeeded the M198 howitzer in the United States Marine Corps and United States Army in 2005.
  • The M777 is also used by the ground forces of Australia, Canada, India and Saudi Arabia. It made its combat debut in the War in Afghanistan.

China to launch 300 satellites to provide worldwide low-orbit communications

  • China plans to launch 300 low-orbit satellites to provide worldwide communication services, with the first in the series to be launched later this year.
  • The first in the 300-satellite array — known as the Hongyan constellation — is set to be launched by the end of this year
  • The Hongyan constellation is composed of more than 300 satellites, along with data processing centers, and will be built in three stages.
  • Once completed, the satellite communication network will take the place of the ground-based network and allow a mobile phone to be connected everywhere on the planet, either in a remote desert or at sea.
  • China is already developing BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) to rival America’s Global Positioning System, (GPS). Besides rivaling GPS, China uses BDS for its military applications to avoid dependence on GPS.
  • The new constellation will be the first group of low-orbit communication satellites designed and launched by China, enabling the country to better guide disaster rescue efforts

Why Low-orbit satellites?

Low-orbit satellites have stronger signals and a shorter signal delay than synchronous orbit satellites, which are 36,000 km above the equator.

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