Daily Current Affairs-23rd July 2018

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Daily Current Affairs -23rd July 2018

GS-I(History)

Birth of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Freedom fighter and lawyer, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was born on 23rd July 1856. He gave India the slogan, “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!”

Biography Image result for bal gangadhar tilak

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born to Gangadhar Tilak, a Sanskrit scholar and school teacher, and his wife in 1856. His birthplace was Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. He was named Keshav.
  • He graduated in mathematics from the Deccan College at Pune in 1877. In 1879, he secured an LLB degree from the Government Law College at Mumbai.
  • Though initially he started his career as a school teacher, he left it to work as a journalist and enter public affairs.
  • He coordinated the work of the Deccan Education Society with his associate Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and others. He was keen on setting up good educational institutes in the country since he believed that education must be imparted with an emphasis on Indian culture. He was one of the founders of the Fergusson College in Pune through the Deccan Education Society.
  • Tilak was deeply involved in the political struggle for freedom in the country. He was one of the earliest and the most vocal proponents of complete independence or swarajya. He was considered a radical because of his views.
  • He emphasised the importance of a cultural and religious revival to go in tandem with the political movements.
  • Tilak became a part of the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1890. He opposed the moderates and led the extremist faction of the party.
  • He stressed on the need for self-rule and believed that without self-rule of swarajya, no progress was possible.
  • He also propagated swadeshi movements and encouraged people to boycott foreign goods.
  • Tilak published two newspapers, Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English. In both these, he severely criticised the government. In one of his articles, he said that those killing oppressors could not be blamed for their actions. The Chapekar brothers case happened after this article. The authorities charged him with incitement to murder and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
  • Along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, he was part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio of leaders with extremist outlooks.
  • Between 1908 and 1914, he spent 6 years in Mandalay Prison for authoring articles in which he defended the actions of revolutionaries Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki. Several times, he was tried for sedition.
  • In 1916, he returned to the INC having separated from it earlier. He founded the All India Home Rule Leaguein April 1916 at Belgaum. His League would work in Maharashtra (except Bombay), the Central Provinces, Karnataka and Berar.
  • In September 1918, Tilak travelled to England to file a libel case against Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol, an English journalist who had written the book ‘Indian Unrest’. In this book, Chirol had dubbed Tilak the ‘father of Indian unrest’. It also contained deprecatory comments. Tilak filed a suit against him but ultimately lost the case. This absence of Tilak from India led to the Home Rule movement losing steam.
  • Tilak was a devout Hindu and used Hindu scriptures to rouse people to fight oppression. He also exhorted people to follow Karma Yoga or the Yoga of Action to fight for freedom. He also wrote his own interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita called Shrimadh Bhagvad Gita Rahasya.
  • He also composed another book in which he wrote that the Aryans came to India from the Arctic region. This book was titled ‘The Arctic Home in the Vedas’ and was published in 1903.
  • He popularised the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in the Maharashtra region and to this day, it is one of the most important festivals in the state.
  • Tilak was also an admirer of Chhatrapati Shivaji. He propounded the celebration of Shiv Jayanti on the birth anniversary of the monarch.
  • He was called ‘Lokamanya’ by the people.
  • Tilak was one of the first INC leaders to suggest that Hindi in the Devanagari script be India’s sole language.
  • He passed away on 1st August 1920 at the age of 64.
GS-I(Geography)
Climate change has started to disrupt Earth’s seasons
  • 4 decades of satellite data, climate scientists have concluded for the first time that humans are pushing seasonal temperatures out of balance—shifting what one researcher called the very “march of the seasons themselves.”
  • An uneven pace of seasonal change in the atmosphere above the Northern and Southern Hemispheres’ temperate zones is identified.
  • Summers in the troposphere are heating faster than winters, may be greenhouse gases contributing for it.
  • Five of six satellite data sets show that the warming signal has risen above the natural noise, according to the research.
    • One major issue is Climate models are famously imperfect.

GS-II(Governance)

WCD to move proposal to amend POCSO Act

  • The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry is set to move a proposal before the Cabinet this week for enhanced punishment in cases of sexual assault of male children.
  • The Law Ministry has cleared the proposal to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, for enhancing punishment in cases of sexual assault against young boys, officials said.
  • Amendments to the POCSO Act for enhanced punishment for sexual assaults of young boys have been approved by the Law Ministry.
  • Sources said the Ministry was working on the proposal to amend the Act to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years.
  • The move is being seen as an effort to bring in a gender-neutral law while dealing with cases of sexual assaults.
  • Boys who are sexually abused as children spend a lifetime in silence.
Niti Aayog nod to panel for denotified, semi-nomadic, nomadic tribes
  • The NITI Aayog has backed a proposal by a panel constituted by the Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment to set up a permanent commission for Denotified (DNT), Semi Nomadic (SNT), and Nomadic Tribes (NT).
  • NITI Aayog has also offered to set up a working group to come up with policy suggestions on many issues of the communities found by the ministry panel to be the “most deprived”.
  • The ministry had written to the NITI Aayog, asking for its stand on the report of the Bhiku Ramji Idate Commission on DNT, SNT, and NT communities.
  • NITI Aayog has agreed with the recommendation to set up a permanent commission for the communities on the lines of similar commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
  • Also whether NITI Ayog would set up a Working Group for framing Vision 2030 for development of these communities as per the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Who are Denotified, semi-nomadic, nomadic tribes?

Denotified tribes are those that were labelled as criminals through a legislation by British government and were denotified post-independence, the Nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to a fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.

Public Affairs Index,2018 report released. Kerala tops

  • The Public Affairs Index 2018 released by Bengaluru-based think-tank Public Affairs Centre (PAC).
  • Around 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators were used to measure under PAI.
  • Kerala stands as the best-governed state in the country followed by Tamil Nadu.
  • Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat are ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the index.
  • Released annually since 2016, the index examines governance performance in the states through a data-based framework, ranking them on social and economic development they are able to provide.
  • Among smaller states (with population less than two crore), Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.

GS-II(International Affairs)

China offers fresh grant of $295 mn to Sri Lanka
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered Sri Lanka a fresh grant of two billion yuan ($295 million), as Beijing tries to expand its influence in the island-nation.
  • Sri Lanka, a partner in China’s Belt and Road project, made the announcement on Saturday at a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a Chinese-funded kidney hospital in Polonnaruwa.
  • The grant offer comes at a time when a Chinese firm is facing heavy criticism for allegedly financing the last election campaign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Background:

  • Mr. Sirisena had at the start of his term suspended most of the Chinese-backed infrastructure projects started under Mr. Rajapaksa over suspected corruption, overpricing and for flouting government procedures.
  • But more than a year later, the Sirisena government allowed Chinese projects to resume after a few changes in some of them.

GS-III(Economy)

IBC: UN model eyed for cross-border norms

  • The government is looking at the possibility of adopting a United Nations legal model for cross-border insolvency cases as it works on strengthening the insolvency resolution framework.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has sections pertaining to cross-border insolvency matters but are yet to be made operational.
  • The Insolvency Law Committee, headed by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas, is studying the feasibility of introducing cross-border insolvency provisions.
  • The committee is looking at the adoption of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law model on dealing with cross border insolvency.
  • The existing Code provides for two sections — 234 and 235 — relating to cross-border insolvency, which allows the Centre to enter into an agreement with a foreign country for enforcing the provisions of the Code, which is considered insufficient and time-taking.
  • In case the UN model is adopted for cross-border insolvency matters, then sections 234 and 235 could be dropped from the Code as they pertain to only bilateral pacts.
India updates WTO on food subsidies for 2nd time in 3 months
  • India has updated data on its food subsidies to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the second time in three months, submitting details for the financial year 2016-17.
  • India insists its public procurement of rice which increased to $2.5 billion in 2016-17 from $2 billion a year ago is well within its WTO commitments, countries like the US claim India may have already breached its permissible limit of food subsidies.
  • US has raised doubts about India’s calculations, arguing it may have already breached the 10% limit.
  • India is till within 6% for rice. It will take another two to three years for us to reach 10%.
  • The US alleged that India’s minimum support price (MSP) programmes for wheat and rice breached New Delhi’s permissible levels of trade- distorting domestic support at the WTO.

What is WTO limit regarding food subsidies?

WTO rules cap government procurement for subsidized food programmes by

  1. For developing countries at 10% of the total value of agricultural production based on 1986-89 prices.
  2. For developed countries it is 5% of the total value of agricultural production based on 1986-89 prices.

What India has done?

India has secured an indefinite peace clause at the WTO under which its existing food subsidy programmes will not be challenged if they breach the 10% limit. However, the peace clause comes with onerous obligation under which countries need to notify their food subsidy levels to WTO till the previous year. Such countries are also not allowed to start any new subsidized food programme after those that existed till 2013.

Thermal coal imports surge 19%
  • India’s top 12 major ports reported a 19.32% surge in imports of thermal coal to 28.28 million tonnes during April-June this year, latest report from the Indian Ports Association (IPA) .
  • The Centre-owned ports had handled 23.70 million tonnes (MT) of the thermal coal in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.
  • Since Thermal coal is the mainstay of India’s energy programme, these imports are important but affects our fiscal deficit

GS-III(Environment)

SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting)

  • It is an Air Quality and Weather Forecast System
  • It was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • SAFAR will accelerate public awareness and preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes. It will also lead to better understanding of linkages among emissions, weather, pollution and climate. It will monitor all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.
  • In addition to regular air quality parameters like PM2.5, PM10, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, the system will also monitor the existence of Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.

Benefits

  • SAFAR system would benefit cost savings to several other sectors like agriculture, aviation, infrastructure, disaster management skill, tourism and many others, which directly or indirectly get affected by air quality and weather.

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