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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 27, 2017



Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]


[1]Aadhaar-PAN linkage meant to plug tax leaks, says SC

[2]A shrinking home for endemic birds

[3]Govt. school teachers often away on duty

[4]J&K court spells steps to stop pollution, encroachment of Dal Lake

[5]SC seeks law to regulate NGO funds

[6]. No port deal during PM’s Colombo trip


Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]


[1]The world is still flat

[2]Politics and the police

[3]Navigating between friends

[4]A solution in search of a problem


Economy [The Hindu]


[1]SEBI to grant one licence to brokers, clearing members

[2]Reorient social sector subsidies: NITI Aayog


Indian Express


 


Live Mint


The absurdities of the United Nations


The Hindu


Front Page / NATIONAL


[1]Aadhaar-PAN linkage meant to plug tax leaks, says SC

 

The Hindu

 

Backdrop

  • A petition challenging the constitutionality of Section 139AA inserted in the Income Tax Act by the Finance Act, 2017
  • The provision makes Aadhaar mandatory for getting a PAN. Possession of an Aadhaar card is necessary for the continuing validity of an existing PAN and for filing returns under the income tax law

 

What has happened?

Slamming a tendency in the country to evade taxes, the Supreme Court referred to the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to the Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Income Tax returns as an instance of the government’s efforts to bring “new and new laws to stop leakages.”

 

[2]A shrinking home for endemic birds

 

The Hindu

 

Context

17 Western Ghats species have smaller ranges than what experts at IUCN estimated

 

What has happened?

Birds endemic to the biodiverse Western Ghats appear to be in greater danger than they were thought to be, because the range of places they live in may have been overestimated

 

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

  • Researchers from four American universities who analysed range maps used by the influential global authority, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), found that for 17 of 18 bird species, the distribution was smaller than IUCN estimates
  • The ‘Red List’ classifications of the IUCN serve to guide protection policies; ‘less vulnerable’ species receive a lower conservation focus

 

IUCN Overestimated

  • The study published in the journal Biological Conservation , argues that IUCN overestimated the habitat of these bird species by up to 88%
  • Of the 18 species, habitats of 12 were overestimated by over 50%
  • Under the new model, 10 species could be bumped up on the IUCN scale, for a higher risk

 

IUCN classification

  • An example is the Malabar grey hornbill which IUCN classifies as ‘Least Concern’ and believes is distributed across 2.3 lakh sq.km in Kerala and Karnataka
  • But when researchers used a spatial modelling technique, they found its range was just 43,060 sq. km, or, nearly 81% less than the estimates
  • This would put the bird in the ‘Near Threatened’ category
  • Again, the Nilgiri pipit appears to have lost 88% of its habitat, making it “endangered” rather than “vulnerable.”

 

Effects

  • The lead author of the study, Vijay Ramesh, a spatial and computational ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, who worked with scholars from Columbia, Cornell, and Duke universities, says underestimating threat and overestimating habitat reduces policy response
  • Moving towards the 2030s and 2040s, if we are not aware of where exactly these birds are found today, there is very little you can do later on

 

Difference between The Study & The IUCN  method

IUCN uses expert sightings and other records, while the study used land cover, forest type (satellite imagery), temperature, precipitation and ‘citizen science’ using theeBird online birding checklist

 

More about IUCN

 

[3]Govt. school teachers often away on duty

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Government school teachers have complained of being burdened with non-academic work

 

What has happened?

It is not neglect but systemic issues that require them to take up other tasks, says study across 6 States

 

The Azim Premji Foundation Survey

On teacher absenteeism in government schools in Karnataka and five other States (Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh)

  • Nearly 7% of the teachers were absent on account of a range of official duties outside the classroom
  • About 2.5% of the teachers were found to be absent from school without any reason

 

Range of tasks

  • Some teachers were not present in school on account of official academic duty (deputation to other schools, training, and cluster meetings) and administrative duty (submission of report on midday meals, children with special needs and other incentive schemes).
  • Many were also away because of elections, health issues, panchayat meetings and department schemes

 

Other Findings

  • The data is based on a day’s visit to each school during August-September 2016. The study also found that more female teachers (83.8%) were present in school than males (78.4%)
  • About 80.5% of the regular teachers were present in school, as opposed to 83.5% of headmasters

 

[4]J&K court spells steps to stop pollution, encroachment of Dal Lake

 

The Hindu

 

What has happened?

The Jammu & Kashmir High Court has come down heavily on authorities for failing to preserve the famous Dal Lake

The court ordered a slew of measures to contain the ever growing pollution and encroachments in and around the waterbody

 

[5]SC seeks law to regulate NGO funds

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Finds new guidelines insufficient for systematising accreditation, fund utilisation and audit of NGOs

 

What has happened?

The Supreme Court on Wednesday suggested that the government ought to frame a statutory law to regulate the flow of public money to the NGOs even as the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) recommended the registration of 159 FIRs against various NGOs for swindling government funds

 

New guidelines

  • The Union Rural Development Ministry had framed the accreditation guidelines to regulate the “manner in which the VOs/NGOs, which are recipient of grants, would maintain their account, the procedure for audit of the account, including procedure to initiate action for recovering of the grants in case of misappropriation and criminal action”.

 

CAPART:The court, however, gave the government the liberty to start civil and criminal proceedings against 703 NGOs, which according to CAPART, have defaulted. The agency, which works under the Rural Development Ministry, said 718 NGOs had been initially blacklisted, but 15 had responded satisfactorily to notices issued on them.

Ineffective laws

  • In some States, the CBI said the laws do not even provide for the NGOs to be transparent about their financial dealings
  • Only some file their tax returns

 

Backdrop

The Supreme Court had expanded the scope of a PIL petition alleging misuse of funds by Anna Hazare’s NGO Hind Swaraj Trust to include the status of all NGOs.

 

[6]. No port deal during PM’s Colombo trip

 

The Hindu

 

Context
The Prime Minister is only signing a broad MoU on economic cooperation while in Delhi

 

Subject matter of the article will be covered in detail during Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to Colombo

 

You can give the article go through


Editorial/OPINION


[1]The world is still flat

 

The Hindu

 

Context

International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook (April 2017)

 

What has happened?

The IMF’s outlook for world economic growth exudes optimism, but it’s too early to celebrate

 

International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook (April 2017)

Key Points:

  • The IMF sees world economic growth accelerating from 3.1% in 2016 to 3.5% in 2017, and 3.6% in 2018
  • Both advanced and emerging economies are poised to do better
  • China will see growth decelerating from 6.7% in 2016 to 6.6% and 6.2% in 2017 and 2018, respectively
  • India’s growth, in contrast, will accelerate from 6.8% in 2016 to 7.2% and 7.7% over the next two years
  • The IMF warns that high income inequality is likely to persist
  • The IMF suggests that the U.S. policy agenda could unfold in ways that could derail its forecasts.

 

Dip for emerging economies

  • The IMF warns that emerging markets, including India, will find the external conditions for growth less supportive than in the post-2000 period thus far
  • Slower growth in the developed world means lesser demand for emerging market goods and services
  • Tightening monetary conditions in the advanced world spell lower capital flows (although foreign investors will still be attracted to emerging markets with sound fundamentals).
  • Subdued commodity prices mean that terms of trade improvements will be limited.

 

[2]Politics and the police

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Transfers of Civil & Police Services by politicians

 

What has happened?

The SC verdict reinstating a DGP limitsthe political executive’s discretion in transfers

 

  • No longer is it valid for the government to justify a DGP’s removal on the vague ground that it has reached a prima facie conclusion that the public is unhappy with the efficiency of the force
  • The government’s ‘subjective satisfaction’ about the state of affairs must be based on “cogent and rational material’

 

Discussed in brief yesterday

 

[3]Navigating between friends

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Changes in the United States’ attitude to Iran could be very serious for India

 

Upping the ante

  • The Trump administration is openly and consistently confrontational towards Iran, where President Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama was firm but constructive.
  • Iran frequently labelled as“a leading state sponsor of terror” by US
  • Washington’s major regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have been no less hostile towards Iran
  • Third, Mr. Trump’s own statements that he could consider committing U.S. troops abroad have been accompanied by an unprecedented $54 billion increase in the defence budget

 

India-Iran relationship

  • In October 2016, Iran was India’s largest supplier of crude oil, with its exports to India exceeding the overall largest supplier Saudi Arabia’s exports of 697,000 barrels per day (bpd) by over 10%
  • As the U.S. federal body Energy Information Administration notes, India is also funnelling Iranian oil into its expanding strategic petroleum reserves (SPR), with a view to holding 90 days’ supply against contingencies
  • Crucially, Tehran has consistently offered New Delhi very favourable terms, including non-dollar oil sales and other commercial attractions.
  • Iran buys basmati rice and sugar from India, as well as various agrochemicals and petroleum products
  • Substantial expansions in the volume of business are also likely, despite earlier tensions over delayed Indian payments for oil
  • In addition, India and Iran have reached agreement on the expansion of several industrial facilities at the port of Chabahar; the work is to be undertaken mainly by Indian entities
  • Another substantial deal is the one under preparation for India to have operating rights in the Farzad B gas field, which lies within Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf

 

Consequences

The prospect of a more aggressive U.S. attitude on Iran, if not stronger sanctions against Tehran, will almost certainly make the Government of India very uncomfortable, with the attitudes taken by Israel and Saudi Arabia no doubt exacerbating New Delhi’s predicament

 

Jobs at risk

  • Another commercial agreement include a 10-year, $16.6-billion contract for the aerospace giant Boeing to supply Iran Air with 80 passenger aircraft
  • Quite apart from Boeing’s competition with the EU manufacturer Airbus, any attack on Iran could put about 1,00,000 U.S. jobs at risk

 

Signs of moderation

Perhaps as a result, the Trump administration, despite its bellicose rhetoric, is showing some signs of moderation in all this. For example, the sanctions announced since the recent Iranian missile test amount to no more than the implementation of measures already prepared by the Obama White House

 

For India

For India, a further point is that while previous U.S. administrations exempted India from certain sanctions over India’s continuing oil deal with Iran, the Trump administration may see the matter differently

One saving grace may be that no matter what Mr. Trump’s main regional allies tell him or want him to do, they cannot predict what he will actually do.

 

[4]A solution in search of a problem

 

The Hindu

 

Context

The proposed new avatar of the National Commission for Backward Classes is unlikely to providea credible and effective social justice architecture

 

The New NCBC

It not only is illogical and lacks historical justification, but is fraught with several challenges to the way India runs its welfare system

 

The Issues

Opportunity Wasted

  • The government pushed this amendment on a war footing. All that it took was five days — from introduction to passage — which included the weekend
  • An opportunity has been wasted to reimagine the whole social justice architecture that is appropriate for 21st century India

 

No Power to Identify Backward Classes (BCs)

  • Parliament will determine who is a BC for the ‘Central’ List
  • Since it has no responsibility to define backwardness, it cannot address the current challenge of well-off castes’ demands to be included as BCs

 

Delinking Article 340

  • The 123rd amendment delinks the whole folio of backward classes from Article 340 and brings it closer to provisions related to SC/STs
  • The government initially proposed to set up the “National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes” which is — in nomenclature, at least — closer to Article 340
  • Once the 123rd amendment becomes law, Article 340 will be dead without being accorded the dignity of a repeal

 

New untouchables?

  • BCs do face discrimination and exclusion and they deserve state support But Is there any justification to suppose, however, that their conditions are as bad as those faced by the SC/STs?
  • The whole business of inquiries into complaints, safeguards, recording evidence, etc will result in the need to enact laws similar to the ones in existence for the protection of SC/STs
  • Have there been instances of BCs (Shudras) suffering violence/intimidation due to their caste? Are such instances, if they were taking place, widespread enough warranting special legislation and watchdog bodies?

 

BC vs SC

Once an incident flares up two ‘constitutional’ national commissions will clash, each defending its wards

 

Conclusion

It will create more problems than provide any solution.


Economy


[1]SEBI to grant one licence to brokers, clearing members

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Unified licence will allow trading in equities, commodities

 

What has happened?

  • Market regulator SEBI decided to grant a unified licence to brokers and clearing members to operate in commodity derivative as well as equity markets
  • A broker or clearing member dealing in the securities markets will be allowed to buy, sell or deal in commodity derivatives without setting up a separate entity and vice-versa. To enable the integration, SEBI will amend norms pertaining to stock broker and securities contract regulations
  • It will increase economic efficiency in terms of meeting operational and compliance obligations at the member level, potentially resulting in ease of doing business
  • Also, the integration will help in widening market penetration and facilitate effective regulatory oversight by stock exchanges and SEBI

 

Stricter P-Note norms

  • To curb any flow of illicit funds in markets, SEBI also decided to bar resident as well as non-resident Indians from making investments through participatory notes (P-Notes)
  • The decision is part of efforts to strengthen the regulatory framework for offshore derivative instruments (ODIs), commonly known as participatory notes (P-Notes), which have been long seen as being possibly misused for routing of black money from abroad

 

[2]Reorient social sector subsidies: NITI Aayog

 

The Hindu

 

Context

 

What has happened?

India’s social sector subsidies should be reoriented so that beneficiaries don’t become dependent on them, the NITI Aayog said


Indian Express


Article covered in yesterday’s brief. New points wrt subject matter have been covered below.

 

India’s medieval counter-insurgency: The Maoist attack in Sukma underlines that our internal security paradigm is well past its sell-by date

 

  • In Chhattisgarh, killings of individuals unconnected or tenuously connected to the insurgency are reported to have led to a resurgence of support to the Maoists

 

  • Even today, planners depend on gargantuan concentrations of forces, coupled with denial of access to population centres, to dominate the physical terrain which are ineffective measures at best.

 

  • The forces are ill-trained for operating in the terrain and vast forests.

Live Mint


Article covered in yesterday’s brief

 

The absurdities of the United Nations: In recent years, the UN, meant to render succour to the world’s miserable, has also been delivering relief of the comic kind.


 

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  • Ravi anand

    Where is 9 pm brief news