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Note:  The following Current affairs has been selected from AIR, PIB, PRS, BBC, The Hindu, IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), Live mint, Indian Express, Quora.com, Hindustan Times, Telegraph, The Times , WTO, New Indian express , The Guardian and is highly recommended for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination


News Analysis: 11-01-2018

National News

General Studies-II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance

Two-tier shield for Aadhaar data

Description: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/article22405116.ece/alternates/FREE_660/aadhaar


  • In the wake of reports of an alleged breach of the Aadhaar database published in a newspaper last week, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has rolled out a new two-tier security process that will come into effect from June 1.
  • Aimed at eliminating the need to share and store Aadhaar numbers, the UIDAI has introduced the concept of a virtual ID which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, besides sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies.
  • A Virtual ID (VID) will be a temporary 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number. There can only be one active and valid VID for an Aadhaar number at any given time and it will not be possible to derive the Aadhaar number from VID
  • The VID authentication will be similar to using Aadhaar numbers. However, since a VID is temporary, agencies will not be able to use it for de-duplication.
  • Only the Aadhaar holder will be able to generate a VID and no other entity, including authentication user agencies (AUAs), can do it on their behalf.
  • The UIDAI has brought in the concept of limited KYC. It has categorised its AUAs into Global AUAs and Local AUAs wherein the latter will get access to only need based or limited KYC details.
  • Once storage of Aadhaar number is restricted and since VID is temporary, agencies need a mechanism to uniquely identify their customers within their systemFor this, a 72 character alphanumeric ‘UID Token’ will be generated for “system use
  • UID token allows an agency to ensure uniqueness of its beneficiaries, customers etc. without having to store Aadhaar number in their databases


Source-The Hindu


General Studies-II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;

With no PDS rice, Dalits eat roots, leaves

On Tuesday, one hundred villagers from Chowdadenahalli Dalit Colony in Chintamani taluk of Karnataka’s Chickballapur district received the unusual quantum of 126 kg of rice each.


Description: Image result for pds


  • They had been struggling to get their share of foodgrain from the public distribution system (PDS) for a year-and-a-half.
  • It had been denied to them allegedly because their Aadhaar numbers were not linked to their BPL cards. In desperation, the 22 Dalit families went on a peaceful protest on Monday, eating only roots and leaves to highlight the government’s apathy.
  •  As word spread across the district, the authorities scrambled to control the damage. In less than 48 hours, they not only received their rations — 7 kg of rice per head — but also arrears for 18 months.


Source-The Hindu

General Studies-II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


How will homeless get Aadhaar: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the government’s version of Aadhaar as a unique identifier which will benefit the poor to access welfare services, asking how will the lakhs of homeless people in the country get an Aadhaar card without a permanent address



  • The 2011 Census revealed there are 1.77 million homeless people in the country. They constitute 0.15% of the total population.
  • The context arose during the hearing on the lack of night shelters for homeless people.
  •  The court had previously summoned the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary to explain the lack of night shelters, especially with North India in the grip of a cold wave.
  • The urban homeless were mostly migrants from the rural parts of the country.
  • They would have a permanent address in their native villages and would have or could apply for Aadhaar there


Source-The Hindu



General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Supreme Court to form SIT to probe 186 anti-Sikh riot cases


  • In a relief to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to set up its own three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe 186 cases not investigated further by the Union government's SIT.
  • The three-member SIT would be headed by a former High Court judge and have a former IPS officer not below or who is equivalent to the rank of an IG and a serving IPS officer, all available in Delhi.
  • The decision to form a new SIT was based on a confidential report placed on record on December 11, 2017 by an apex court-appointed supervisory committee of former Supreme Court judges, Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and J.M. Panchal.


Anti-Sikh Riots

  • Due to the orders of Indira Gandhi, Indian Army launched its offensive against Sikh militants at the Golden Temple in Amritsar under the code name “Operation Blue Star”.
  • The army was successful in driving out the militants from the Sikh’s sacred place, but this event angered the Sikh People and their sentiments got hurt.
  • To avenge this action, bodyguards of Mrs. Gandhi killed her at her own house.
  • Later the angry congress workers and supporters allegedly began their brutal actions of killing innocent Sikh People in the country; Delhi was the most affected area during anti Sikh riots.


Source-The Hindu


General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Rationalists’ killings: SC to hear plea

Description: Image result for rationalists killing

  • The unsolved murders of Kendriya Sahitya Akademi awardee and anti-superstition activist M.M. Kalburgi and activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare came under the Supreme Court’s scanner on Wednesday, with a plea saying that the same organisation and gunmen were behind all three crimes.
  • The court agreed to examine a plea by Prof. Kalburgi’s widow, Umadevi, for a coordinated probe into his murder by a special investigation team, supervised by a retired judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court
  • A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, issued notice to the Centre, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the State governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, asking them to respond in six weeks.
  • In her writ petition, she asked the Supreme Court to use its extraordinary constitutional powers to order an investigation by a special team of the Karnataka Police, supervised by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge

Source-The Hindu

General Studies-II : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

Sharma flags ‘propaganda’ on TV

Description: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/article22413700.ece/alternates/FREE_660/10TH-THGRP-DINE

  • The Centre’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, has requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to convene a meeting with authorities of certain television news channels to ask them to be careful against spreading “vicious propaganda” against Kashmiris.
  • At least four news channels routinely aired stories exaggerating events in the Kashmir Valley, defeating the dialogue and peace process initiated by the Centre. The meeting with the channel representatives would be convened shortly
  • Sometimes these channels are just making a mountain out of a molehill. Many times, the debates are vitriolic and are distant from facts on the ground. This gives fodder to secessionist forces in the Kashmir Valley to sow hatred against the government
  • Mr. Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, was appointed Special Representative by the Centre in October 2017 for carrying forward the dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • As reported earlier, several delegations that met Mr. Sharma complained that a few news channels were propagating a negative image of Kashmiris.
  • On the issue of reports of stone throwing by students, officials posted in south Kashmir had pointed out that schoolchildren from only four or five institutions had participated in the attacks on security forces.
  • However, the national media had reported the incidents as if all the 50,000 school and college students were embroiled in violent acts in 2016 that erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen “commander” Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces.


Source-The Hindu


General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive

PM sets targets for 115 backward districts



  • In the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told all ministries to report on the initiatives taken by them for 115 backward districts and also to come up with an action plan for these districts.
  • Compile all the initiatives we have taken in the past and also what we plan to do in future
  • Among the 115 districts, 35 are affected by Left Wing violence.
  • The districts were identified on the basis of indicators of education, health, nutrition, basic infrastructure, rural household electrification, and access to potable water and individual toilets.
  • Jharkhand tops the list, with 19 backward districts, followed by Bihar with 13 districts; Chhattisgarh is at the third spot with 10 districts. Niti Ayog is developing a real-time monitoring mechanism of key performance indicators and will rank the districts on a continuous basis.
  • While selecting the districts, maximum weightage was given to data of landless households dependent on manual labour.
  • The other criteria were nutritional level of children below five years and their drop-out rate from schools.

Source-The Hindu,PIB



General Studies-II : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Not by diktat alone


  • By making it optional for cinema halls to play the national anthem before every show, the Supreme Court has at last removed the coercive element it had unfortunately introduced by an interim order in November 2016
  • Laying down a judicial rule that the anthem must be played on certain occasions in specific places, in the absence of any statutory provision to this effect, was unnecessary and opened the court to charges of over-reach.
  • The Centre saying this directive could be placed on hold, and that it would set up an inter-ministerial committee to recommend regulations for the presentation of the national anthem, the court has said it is not mandatory to play it in cinema halls.
  •  The panel will also suggest changes in the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, or in the Orders relating to the anthem issued from time to time.
  • The court’s order also had some unintended, but not unforeseen, consequences.
  •  The audience began looking for signs of ‘disrespect’ and there were reports of vigilantism, with people beaten up or harangued for not standing up.
  • Even those who contend that “constitutional patriotism” and the demonstration of respect for the national anthem require the framing of such mandatory measures cannot explain why cinema houses should be singled out or why such rules shouldn’t apply to other halls or enclosures where meetings and performances take place.

Way Forward:

  • The prescription of the place or occasion has to be made by the executive keeping in view the concept of fundamental duties provided under the Constitution and the law.
  • In a mature democracy, there is really no need for any special emphasis, much less any judicial direction, on the occasion and manner in which citizens ought to display and demonstrate their patriotism.
  • Citizens should be presumed to have a natural respect for symbols of national honour, and should not have to be made unwilling participants in a coercive project


Source-The Hindu



General Studies-III : Indian Economy

In FDI push, Centre allows 49% foreign ownership in AI

The Union government on Wednesday liberalised and simplified the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regime in a host of sectors, including Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT), civil aviation (aimed at facilitating Air India’s divestment), construction development, power exchanges, pharmaceuticals and audit firms



  • The government said the goal was to help the country attract larger FDI inflows that is expected to contribute to growth of investment, income and employment in the country.
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to permit 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route for SBRT.
  • The extant policy on SBRT allows 49 per cent FDI under the automatic route, and FDI beyond 49 per cent and up to 100 per cent through the government approval route.
  • This will quicken the FDI clearance process as no prior government approval would be required
  • Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement that it strongly opposed the move to allow 100 per cent FDI in SBRT through the automatic route as it would facilitate the easy entry of MNCs.It’s a serious matter for small businesses
  • In FDI policy changes in other sectors, the government allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under the approval route in Air India, subject to the conditions that: (i) Foreign investment(s) in Air India, including that of foreign Airline(s), shall not exceed 49 per cent either directly or indirectly and (ii) substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian National.
  • In construction development, the government clarified that the real estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is, therefore, eligible for 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route.
  • In power exchanges, the government allowed FIIs/FPIs to invest in power exchanges through the primary market. The government said the extant policy provided for 49 per cent FDI under the automatic route in power exchanges registered under the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Power Market) Regulations, 2010. However, it added that the policy had so far restricted FII/FPI purchases restricted to the secondary market only.
  • Regarding audit firms, since the extant FDI policy does not have any provisions in respect of specification of auditors that can be appointed by the Indian investee companies receiving foreign investments, the government said it decided to provide in the FDI policy that wherever the foreign investor wished to specify a particular auditor/audit firm having international network for the Indian investee company, then audit of such investee companies should be carried out as joint audit wherein one of the auditors should not be part of the same network.
  • On pharmaceuticals, the government said the FDI policy had stated that definition of medical device as contained in the FDI Policy would be subject to an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Further, it has also been decided to amend the definition of ‘medical devices’ as contained in the FDI Policy



Source-The Hindu,PIB




General Studies-III : Indian Economy

World Bank projects 7.3% growth in 2018

Description: http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/article22413892.ece/alternates/FREE_660/TH11INDIA-ECONOMY

  • India’s growth rate in 2018 is projected to hit 7.3% and 7.5% in the next two years, according to the World Bank, which said the country has “enormous growth potential” compared to other emerging economies with the implementation of comprehensive reforms.
  • India is estimated to have grown at 6.7% in 2017 despite initial setbacks from demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), according to the 2018 Global Economics Prospect released by the World Bank here.
  • In comparison with China, which is slowing, the World Bank is expecting India to gradually accelerate
  • To materialise its potential, India needed to take steps to boost investment prospects
  • There are measures underway to do in terms of non- performing loans and productivity
  • On the productivity side, India has enormous potential with respect to secondary education completion rate.
  • All in all, improved labour market reforms, education and health reforms as well as relaxing investment bottleneck will help improve India’s prospects
  • India has a favourable demographic profile which is rarely seen in other economies
  • In that context, improving female labour force participation rate is going to be important



Source-The Hindu



General Studies-III : Conservation

A.P. readies cosy nests for Olive Ridleys

Description: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/article22415802.ece/alternates/FREE_660/09mp-olive-ridlGVR37CR6N3jpgjpg

  • The Andhra Pradesh Wildlife authorities have prepared the ground for a safe nesting season for Olive Ridley turtles along the 970-km coastline from the Srikakulam district to the Nellore district.
  • An extensive plan to set up rookeries has been prepared under the in situ conservation method: collection of eggs and release of the hatchlings.
  • The conservation status is ‘Vulnerable’, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red data.
  • The fisherfolk have already been alerted to be vigilant to rescue the turtles from the fishing nets.
  •  Students will be educated on the conservation method and the need for care by the local communities


Source-The Hindu



International News:

Maritime focus for India, ASEAN

Description: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article22413770.ece/alternates/FREE_660/10TH-THGRP-CHURN

  • The ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit of January 25 is likely to focus on maritime security for the region, a senior ASEAN diplomat said on Wednesday.
  • There is hope that there will be serious discussions on maritime security, including freedom of navigation, piracy, keeping sea trading lanes clear. India attaches a lot of importance to maritime security and ASEAN countries are preparing for an intense discussion on that
  • Connectivity and maritime cooperation will form the backdrop for the summit



Source-The Hindu


Other Issues in News:


BCI notice to MPs, MLAs on legal practice

“The Council has thought it just and proper to seek the comments of those MPs, MLAs or MLCs who are in legal practice, before taking any final decision in this matter


Source-The Hindu



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