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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: 14-12-2018

National News


General Studies-II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


National Mission on Government e-Market (GeM) portal

  • The National Mission on GeM (NMG) was launched on 5th September 2018 till 17th October 2018.

  • The objective of the Mission was to accelerate the adoption and use of Procurement by Major Central Ministries, States and UTs and their agencies (including CPSUs/PSUs, Local Bodies) on the GeM platform.


The objectives of the NMG were to:

  • Promote inclusiveness by catapulting various categories of sellers and service providers

  • Highlight and communicate ‘value add’ by way of transparency and efficiency in public procurement, including corruption free governance.

  • Achieve cashless, contactless and paperless transaction, in line with Digital India objectives.

  • Increase overall efficiency leading to significant cost saving on government expenditure in Procurement.

  • Maximizing ease in availability of all types of products and services bought by Government buyers.

During the mission, 315 events and training programs conducted across 31 states in which there were 22,838 participants.

Source: PIB


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

SC bats for rights of death row convicts

  • Death row convicts should be allowed to meet with family, friends, lawyers and mental health professionals for a “reasonable period of time with reasonable frequency” like any other prisoner.

  • It is part of their fundamental right to dignity and equality, the Supreme Court held in a judgment on Thursday.

  • The court said prison manuals or laws depriving condemned prisoners of their basic rights should be nixed.

  • The judgment came after the court took suo motu cognisance of the rights of the incarcerated and conditions in prisons across the country.

  • One of the issues specifically pertained to the right of the condemned; the extension of their right to be treated on a par with other convicted prisoners and the facilities allowed to them.

  • The judgment, however, does not delve into questions like at what specific point a person becomes a death row convict — is it when he is sentenced to death by a trial court or much later when all his remedies have been exhausted and he waits for his execution at the hands of the State.

  • The judgment mentions submissions made to solitary confinement of prisoners on death row.

  • Here too, the court banks on generalities, referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and reiterating that right to life includes the “right to live with human dignity.”


Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Theresa must

  • Having survived a party challenge, the British PM should spell out London’s next steps

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a trust vote on her Conservative party stewardship.

  • But there is little sign that the bitter infighting within the ruling party will abate.

  • Nor is there any assurance that Parliament will back her government’s controversial Brexit deal with the European Union.

  • The leadership challenge was suddenly triggered by a growing number of Tory rebels who felt emboldened by widespread opposition to the withdrawal agreement that has united Europhiles and Eurosceptics across parties.

  • Their resistance gained momentum when Ms. May, deeply apprehensive about its approval by the Commons, decided to defer a vote on the deal.

  • Following her victory in the party leadership battle, Ms. May hopes to secure more assurances from European leaders that Britain would not be permanently locked into a customs union with the EU.

  • The customs union is the backstop arrangement meant to continue the open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, a lifeline of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

  • London has sought to sell the backstop as the best possible deal that could protect the U.K.’s territorial integrity.

  • The EU insists the withdrawal agreement cannot be reopened for negotiations. The Remain and Leave camps want legal assurances that the customs union would at best be temporary, given the curbs it would impose regarding trade agreements with third countries.

  • It is possible that Brussels will adopt a flexible stance, despite its protestations to the contrary, to avert a no-deal scenario on the expiry of the Article 50 deadline on March 29, 2019.

  • Examples of how the dilemma posed by the Danish rejection of the 1991 EU treaty, or Ireland’s ‘No’ to the Lisbon treaty were legally overcome are being cited in relation to the present difficulty with the Irish backstop.

  • Clearly, the EU’s main concern is not to stretch the basic idea that the benefits of membership are limited to insiders.

  • But the U.K. will have to show some flexibility, of deferring to the democratic mandate of the referendum, while recognising the practical imperatives of ceasing a long partnership.

  • In that respect, it would be wishful thinking, to paraphrase former Prime Minister John Major, to want to dispense with the Irish formula that has been written into the withdrawal agreement.

  • Tory rebels should rise above their narrow differences in the national interest and back the final agreement presented to Parliament in January.

  • Else, they risk an extension of the Brexit deadline and even possibly a second referendum on the EU membership issue.

  • The meaning of the 2016 referendum verdict has evolved from implying that a no-deal withdrawal was better than a bad deal to an acceptance that a soft exit is the more realistic option.

  • Now, opinions on a second referendum are being openly voiced. It’s time London decided what it really wants.

Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


India, Russia to boost joint production in defence

  • India and Russia have agreed on ways to simplify export clearances to take forward joint manufacturing in defence.

  • This was among the various issues discussed during the 18th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu on Thursday.

  • The two focus areas of the discussions were on further expanding military-to-military and defence industrial engagement between the two countries

  • India is keen on moving from licence manufacturing of defence equipment to joint production under Make in India. This includes allowing Indian companies, both Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and private sector, to manufacture spares for Russian systems in India

  • The two sides also agreed to take forward inter-governmental arrangements for facilitating joint manufacturing of spares for Russian origin equipment in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

  • In this regard, four military-industry conferences were held between Russian manufactures and Indian companies to take the process forward.


Source: The Hindu


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