ForumIAS: Facts in News (August 16th – 22th)

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Read summaries of all important News Articles

Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.

Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the Third week of August.

Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, Orders, Judgments
Headlines Facts
North Delhi may get land to set up new WTE plant• The Delhi government is considering a proposal to give the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) land for a new waste-to-energy (WTE) plant at Tikri Khampur in north-west Delhi.
• Waste-to-energy uses trash as a fuel for generating power, just as other power plants use coal, oil, or natural gas. The burning fuel heats water into steam that drives a turbine to create electricity.
Telecom sector: Panel for providing relief• The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), formed to look into the financial woes of the telecom sector, on 31st August, 2017 submitted its report after over three months of deliberations.
• It is learnt that the IMG had made some suggestions for providing relief to the sector.
• IMG is to extend the timeline for deferred spectrum payment by telecom companies to 16 years instead of the 10 at present.
Rajasthan malnutrition scheme to be based on micro-planning• The second phase of the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme will be implemented in Rajasthan on micro-planning basis at the district level.
• Launched in December 2015, the first phase of the programme provided treatment to 9,117 children, aged below five years, by giving them vitamin-enriched and ready-to-use therapeutic food.
• UNICEF, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and Action Against Hunger were the project partners
Haryana targets 2 lakh jobs for youth under ‘Saksham Yojana’• The Haryana State government has set a target to provide employment to two lakh youth in the State under the ’Saksham Yojana’.
• The purpose is to recruit youth under the Yojana for various departments where there was shortage of employees.
• The step is being taken so that no educated youth is unemployed.
Private schools granted time to fulfil ‘vahan policy’• ‘Surakshit School Vahan Policy’ of the state government is launched with the purpose for safer transportation of schoolchildren or face action.
• As per the policy, all private schools need to install at least two good quality closed-circuit television cameras in all buses, in the front and the rear, with a recording capacity of minimum 15 days. Besides, the schools must keep a six month backup of the recording.
Rajasthan education initiatives hailed• Rajasthan government decides to introduce the public-private partnership (PPP) model in school education.
• The decision is predicted to risk the future of students and defeat the spirit of the Right to Education Act.
Social revolution in a JAM• The PMJDY and the JAM revolution can link all Indians into one common financial, economic, and digital space.
• JAM, deriving from Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile, combines bank accounts for the poor, direct transfer of benefitts into these accounts and the facility of making financial payments through mobile phones.
Modi-Xi meet flags ‘forward looking’ ties, border peace• Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, during their one-on one meeting, agreed to establish new ways to prevent the recurrence of incidents like standoff in the Sikkim.
• They suggested that regular contacts at the frontiers are necessary to ensure that situation which happened recently should not recur.
Jharsuguda airport to be operational soon• Regional air connectivity in Odisha is set to get a boost with the Jharsuguda airport likely to be made operational by October, 2017.
• Odisha is the first among five airports in the State to be selected under the UDAN scheme.
• UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is a regional airport development and "Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)" of the Government of India, with the objective of making air travel affordable and widespread, enabling inclusive job growth and infrastructure development of all regions and states of India.
Committed to providing jobs to youth in Punjab, says Amarinder• Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on 5th September, 2017 reiterated his commitment to ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobaar’ mission for the State’s youth.
• He also said that the government had signed 34 memorandum of understanding (MoUs) for facilitating 2.8 lakh jobs.
• The government had also identified around 50,000 jobs for immediate recruitment.
Lucknow gets its much-awaited Metro• The much-awaited Lucknow Metro was finally inaugurated on 5th September, 2017
• Metros were also announced for Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi, Jhansi, Meerut, Allahabad and Gorakhpur, the CM’s political turf.
Delhi Chief Minister announces setting up of decentralised STPs• Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 5th September, 2017 said decentralised sewage treatment plants that are smaller than the ususal STPs would be set up across the Capital.
Govt. to bring out policy to develop agri-clusters• The government will soon bring out a policy to develop agricultural clusters and boost farm exports.
• The minister also added that at the multi-lateral level too there was work to be done to eliminate trade restrictions.
Govt orders de-sealing of bars along highways in civic areas• The Delhi government has ordered the de-sealing of liquor shops and bars along highways in municipal areas across the city.
• The SC had in December last year banned the sale of liquor within 500 metres of State and national highways across India from April 1 this year.
• It recently clarified that the ban did not apply to establishments located within municipal areas.
National Issue
No data on black money yet, says RBI• The RBI has told a parliamentary panel that it has no information on how much black money has been extinguished as a result of demonetisation of 500/1,000 notes or about unaccounted cash legitimised through exchange of currency post note ban.
GST uncertainty takes toll on Puja• Organisers for Durga Puja in West Bengal are reeling under fund crunch as revenue from sponsorship has gone down drastically.
• Financial experts attributed the lack of advertisements at Durga Pujas to lack of clarity about GST norms.
• Even though the impact of GST on advertisements in print will only be an increase of about 1%, the paucity of advertisements to Durga Pujas can be attributed to the lack of clarity and uncertainty over the application of GST norms.
PUHCs busier than mohalla clinics• According to data of the Health and Family Welfare Department obtained by The Hindu, a total of 158 Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics saw 10.76 lakh patients from January to March this year.
• In comparison, 61 seed primary urban health centres or PUHCs of the department had an out-patient attendance of 20.49 lakh for the same period.
• The Mohalla clinics project has come under scrutiny with the Vigilance Department conducting a probe after the L-G recieved complaints about irregularities in the renting of premises for the clinics.
SC panel  finds fault with Kerala• The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has claimed a rise in atrocities on Dalits in the State and faulted the State government for not taking appropriate action under the SC/ ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 2015. The NCSC’s spot visit to Kerala took place on August 23-24.
• The Commission claims that the State government has not taken requisite action under the SC(PoA) Act and the SC/ST (PoA) Rules to provide relief to victims of atrocities.
• As per rules, at least 65 lakh was due to be paid as compensation to the families of the victims along with a monthly pension of 5000 to the next of kin, a government job to the next of kin and free education to children/dependants of the victim,” said an NCSC release.
Sugar output likely to rise by 18%• The country's domestic sugar production in 2018 is likely to increase by 18%-20% to around 24.5 million tonnes, rating agency ICRA said on Thursday.
• It said that the growth was driven principally by a recovery in cane availability in Maharashtra and north Karnataka, supported by monsoon rain and an increase in sugar production in Uttar Pradesh.
• In terms of profitability, the south-based mills especially those in Tamil Nadu and south Karnataka are likely to be adversely affected in the financial year of 2018.
Demonetisation: now a proven failure?• Demonetisation was carried out on the incorrect premise that black money means cash.
• The purpose was that if cash was squeezed out, the black economy would be eliminated.
• But cash is only one component of black wealth: about 1% of it.
• Not even 0.01% of black money has been extinguished.
• For India to achieve prosperity for all, three ingredients are essential: a transparent, effective government, flourishing of competitive free markets, and huge investment in the poor.
International Issue
BRICS declares Lashkar, Jaish as global terror groups• The Brazil-Russia-IndiaChina-South Africa (BRICS) grouping unequivocally named Pakistan-based groups Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as terror organisations.
• The declaration has been endorsed by all the BRICS leaders.
• The formulation adopted at the ninth BRICS summit would strengthen the fight for banning terrorists and terror groups at the UN.
India, China to put Doklam behind• The ninth summit of BRICS, a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will begin on 3rd September, 2017.
• New Delhi and Beijing are unlikely to allow their differences over the Doklam plateau to cloud their support for the emerging economies and the Global South.
• A possible one-on-one meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to give a fresh and positive direction to the pivotal relationship, will be keenly watched.
‘Trade-distorting farm subsidies must go’• India and China have jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies by the developed countries as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
• This is an important proposal by India and China in view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference (MC) of the WTO.
• The MC is the WTO’s highest decision making body.
‘Indian elephant getting bigger’• In 20 years, India will be one of the major geopolitical players in Asia, providing some balance to the existing power equations in the region.
• Barry O’Farrell, the special envoy of New South Wales, the southeastern Australian state, to India, said that India’s rise is good news for Australia as well as the Indian Ocean region.
• On defence, Australia has identified India as a key partner to maintain stability and rule-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.
• At present there are around 15,000 Indian students in Australia.
• Besides trade, Mr. O’Farrell sees a number of sectors where India-Australia ties can prosper. These include defence, education, agriculture and tourism.
U.S. backs sale of fighters to India• The Trump administration has told the U.S. Congress that it strongly supports the sale to India of F-18 and F-16 fighter planes.
• The planes are built by American companies, Boeing and Lockheed Martin respectively.
• Both companies have offered to assemble these planes in India.
Debt, project delays worry Bhutan• While the Doklam standoff brought a spotlight on India Bhutan ties, other issues like hydropower project construction need greater focus.
• What concerns is that the partnership between India and Bhutan seems to be going backwards.
• As of July 2017, Bhutan’s debt to India for the three major ongoing projects: Mangdechhu, Punatsangchhu 1 and 2 is approximately 12,300 crore which accounts for 77% of the country’s total debt, and is 87% of its GDP.
5,00,000 Pakistanis deported in 5 years• Over 500,000 Pakistanis have been deported from 134 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India and China, in the last five years, according to a report in The Express Tribune.
South Korea seeks bigger warheads, conducts drills• South Korea was of the opinion that an agreement with the U.S. to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat after it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test.
• Analysts and South Korean policymakers believe North Korea may test another weapon.
• Thus, U.S. President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, agreed on 4th September to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles, South Korea’s presidential office said, enabling it to strike North Korea with greater force in the event of war.
Centre refuses to offer assurance on Rohingya• The Centre decides to send back 40,000 immigrants to Myanmar.
• But the Centre refused, in the Supreme Court, to give 40,000 Rohingya Muslim immigrants an assurance that it will not move for their deportation back to Myanmar.
• The petition by the Rohingyas contended that any move to deport them would violate the constitutional guarantee of the Indian state to “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.”
Trump could scrap amnesty scheme• The Centre decides to send back 40,000 immigrants to Myanmar.
• But the Centre refused, in the Supreme Court, to give 40,000 Rohingya Muslim immigrants an assurance that it will not move for their deportation back to Myanmar.
• The petition by the Rohingyas contended that any move to deport them would violate the constitutional guarantee of the Indian state to “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.”
Trump could scrap amnesty scheme• U.S. President Donald Trump is set to scrap a programme that grants work permits to immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children.
• The move is likely to impact some 7,50,000 undocumented workers, including more than 7,000 Indian-Americans.
• India ranks 11th among countries of origin for DACA students, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics available till March 31, 2017.
Social Issue/Developments
30 infants die of ‘asphyxia’ in Farukkhabad hospital• The district administration prima facie concluded that 30 children died in a government hospital due to lack of sufficient oxygen supply over the span of a month.
• Parents of newborn children who died in the hospital had alleged that the deaths took place due to lack of oxygen supply.
• However, the district administration found that from July 21st to August 20th, 2017, 30 children appeared to have died in the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) ward of the hospital due to “perinatal asphyxia.”
‘Bringing coal back on track is priority for Indian Railways’• Coal loading, which accounts for almost half of the Indian Railways’ freight traffic, declined around 2% in April-July due to floods, poor transportation to rail sidings and closure of the Dhanbad- Chandrapura railway line.
• Moreover, the average time to load coal on trains has also gone up from the usual four hours.
• Experts said with Mr. Goyal as the new Railways Minister coming in, the coordination between Coal and Railway Ministry will improve.
Science and Technology
New camera can see through human body• Scientists in the U.K. have developed a camera that can see through the human body.
• It can track the medical tools known as endoscopes that are used to investigate a range of internal conditions.
A milestone in treating cancer• The United States’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 30th August, 2017 approved the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, a milestone that is expected to transform treatment in the coming years.
• The new therapy turns a patient’s cells into a “living drug” and trains them to recognise and attack the disease.
Defence Issues
HAL swings orders for 41 Dhruvs• Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has signed a contract for 41 indigenously developed Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALHs) for the Army and the Navy.
• Of these, 40 helicopters are for the Army and one for the Navy.
Environmental Issues
Solar storms may have caused beaching of whales• Twenty-nine sperm whales have been washed up on German, Dutch, French and British shores between January and February, 2016.
• German scientists are of the opinion that the mass beaching of sperm whales in countries around the North Sea last year could have been due to solar storms.
• The solar storms which create the Northern Lights phenomenon could also have caused the world’s magnetic field to shift by up to 460 km, a phenomenon that would interfere with the whales’ sense of orientation.
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