Navy-gets-access-to-Singapore’s-Changi-naval-base-iastoppers
Current Affairs Analysis

30th November 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Navy gets access to Singapore’s Changi naval base; Competition Commission of India; Competition Act, 2002; Badri Narain Sharmanamed GST anti-profiteering body Chairman; National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA); Namami Gange Programme; Asthma; Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA); Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC); Arunachal’s Siang river; ICBM ‘Hwasong-15’; Lesotho; World Weightlifting Championships; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
November 30, 2017

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • IPL media rights: Competition Commission slaps Rs 52-crore fine on BCCI
  • Badri Narain Sharmanamed GST anti-profiteering body Chairman

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Nitin Gadkari gets Rs 500 crore commitment for Clean Ganga mission

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Even low air pollution levels can up asthma risk: study
  • Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) approves projects worth ₹2067 cr in 6 institutions

Economy

  • Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC)

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Arunachal’s Siang river turns black

Bilateral & International Relations

  • North Korea tests most powerful ICBM ‘Hwasong-15’
  • India donates 500 tonnes of rice to Lesotho

Defence & Security Issues

  • Navy gets access to Singapore’s Changi naval base

Key Facts for Prelims

  • India and Italy sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in health sector
  • Karnataka first state where women head police, bureaucracy:
  • Mirabai Chanu wins gold medal at World Weightlifting Championships

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Polity & Governance

IPL media rights: Competition Commission slaps Rs 52-crore fine on BCCI

The Competition Commission of India imposed a fine of Rs 52.24 crore on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for anti-competitive practices with respect to IPL media rights.

ias-toppers-BCCI-rti-act

  • Earlier in 2013 also, the watchdog had penalised the cricket board.

What’s the issue?

  • For having assured the broadcasters of Indian Premier League (IPL) that BCCI shall ‘not organise, sanction, recognise or support another professional domestic Indian T20 competition that is competitive to IPL, for a sustained period of 10 years”, Competitions Commission of India (CCI) has found the Indian cricket board to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(1) to be read with Section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002.
  • Citing it as abuse of dominant position, for imposing restriction that denies access to the market for organisation of professional domestic cricket league / events, CCI has imposed a penalty of Rs 52.24 crore on BCCI for “anti-competitive conduct”.

About the Competition Commission of India:

Competition Commission of India is a body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India.

IASToppers Competition Commission of India

  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to:
  1. Eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition,
  2. Promote and sustain competition,
  3. Protect the interests of consumers and
  4. Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

About the Competition Act, 2002:

  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws.
  • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
[Ref: PIB, Times of India]

 

Badri Narain Sharma named GST anti-profiteering body Chairman

Senior bureaucrat Badri Narain Sharma has been appointed as the chairman of the national anti-profiteering authority under the GST regime.

Badri Narain Sharma iastoppers

About National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA)

  • The NAA is tasked with ensuring full benefits of reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to consumers.
  • It is responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in event of reduction GST rate on supply of goods or services or if benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.

Composition

  • NAA will be headed by senior officer of level of a Secretary to Union Government and shall have four technical members from Centre and/or States.
  • The chairman and four members will be less than 62 years of age.

Powers and functions

National-Anti-Profiteering-Authority-iastoppers2

  • If NAA finds that company has not passed on benefits of tax reduction, it can direct entity to pass on benefits to consumers along with interest from the date of collection of the higher amount till date of return of such amount.
  • If the beneficiary cannot be identified, NAA can ask company to transfer amount to the ‘Consumer Welfare Fund’, as provided under Section 57 of CGST Act.
  • In extreme cases NAA can impose a penalty on defaulting business entity and even order cancellation of its registration under GST.
  • NAA also has power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on benefit of lower taxes under GST regime to consumers, and empowers consumers to approach it in case of any complaint.
[Ref: PIB, The Hindu, Live Mint]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Nitin Gadkari gets Rs 500 crore commitment for Clean Ganga mission

UK-based Indian-origin businessmen have committed to projects worth nearly Rs 500 crore associated with the Clean Ganga mission.

500 crore commitment for Clean Ganga mission iastoppers

  • The businessmen will take on the projects as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda and work with the Indian government on finalising the plans for each of the cities.
  • Riverfront regeneration and development of ghats in the towns of Patna, Kanpur, Haridwar and Kolkata have been taken on by four leading industrialists from the UK.

About Namami Gange Programme:

‘Namami Gange’ Programme, is a flagship programme of Government of India with a renewed impetus to decrease river pollution and conserve the revered river ‘Ganga’.

ias-toppers-Namami-Gange-Programme-2

  • The Union government approved “Namami Gange” Program in May 2015.
  • In this connection, the Indian Government solicited support from various countries to rejuvenate the Ganga.
  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • According to the program, rejuvenation implies restoring the “wholesomeness” of the river and that includes three things: Aviral dhara (continuous flow), nirmal dhara (unpolluted flow) and ecological and geological integrity.
  • Among other things, the programme will focus on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion & treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation / appropriate in-situ treatment / use of innovative technologies.
  • Under this programme, the focus of the Government is to involve people living on the banks of the river to attain sustainable results.
  • The programme also focuses on involving the States and grassroots level institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions in implementation.

iastoppers commitment for Clean Ganga mission

[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Even low air pollution levels can up asthma risk: study

A new study has warned that air pollution can increase the risk of asthma in adults, even at low levels.

Even low air pollution levels can up asthma risk iastoppers

  • The study surveyed about 700 Australians participants aged 45-50.

Key findings:

  • The study found that although Australia has relatively low air pollution levels compared with developing South East Asian countries, even these are associated with increased risk of asthma and poor lung function in adults.
  • Diesel is much more harmful than petrol because of the composition of the fuel. When it burns, diesel produces more pollutants.

About asthma:

Asthma is a common chronic (long-term) inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs.

asthma iastoppers image

  • Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental factors include exposure to air pollution and allergens. Other potential triggers include medications such as aspirin and beta blockers.
  • For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
  • Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. Asthma being a chronic disease requires continuous medical care and appropriate treatment.
[Ref: Indian Express, India Today]

 

Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) approves projects worth ₹2067 cr in 6 institutions

For providing additional funds for research and related infrastructure, Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) has started its operations.

IIT_KGP_Main_Building-696x522

  • The HEFA Board recently approved projects for Rs. 2,066.73 Cr for six institutions – IITs Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur and NIT Suratkal.
  • These funds would be used to improve the research infrastructure in these institutions to further improve their standing at the global level.
  • The approved funds will be in addition to grants being given to these institutions by the government.

About Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA):

In September 2016, the Union Cabinet has approved the creation of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) as a Special Purpose Vehicle with a public sector bank (Canara Bank) to give a major push for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier educational institutions.

iastoppers-higher-education-financing-agency

  • It would be jointly funded by the promoter/bank and the MHRD with an authorised capital of ₹2,000 crore. The government equity would be ₹1,000 crore.

Eligibility:

  • All the Centrally Funded Higher Educational Institutions would be eligible for joining as members of the HEFA.
  • For joining as members, the Institution should agree to escrow a specific amount from their internal accruals to HEFA for a period of 10 years. This secured future flows would be securitised by the HEFA for mobilising the funds from the market.
  • Each member institution would be eligible for a credit limit as decided by HEFA based on the amount agreed to be escrowed from the internal accruals.

Functions of HEFA:

  • It would leverage the equity to raise up to Rs. 20,000 crore for funding projects for infrastructure and development of world class Labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and such other institutions.
  • The HEFA would also mobilise CSR funds from PSUs/Corporates, which would in turn be released for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on grant basis.
  • The HEFA would finance the civil and lab infrastructure projects through a 10-year loan.
  • The principal portion of the loan will be repaid through the ‘internal accruals’ (earned through the fee receipts, research earnings etc.) of the institutions. The Government would service the interest portion through the regular Plan assistance.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Economy

Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC)

About IRFC:

Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) is a finance arm of the Indian Railway.

Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) iastoppers logo

  • IRFC was set up on in December 1986 as the dedicated financing arm of the Indian Railways for mobilizing funds from domestic as well as overseas Capital Markets.
  • IRFC is a Schedule ‘A’ Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India.
  • It is also registered as Systemically Important Non–Deposit taking Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC – ND-SI) and Infrastructure Finance Company (NBFC- IFC) with Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • IRFC raises money through financial bonds and from banks and financial institutions.

Objective of IRFC:

  • The primary objective of IRFC is to meet the predominant portion of ‘Extra Budgetary Resources’ (EBR) requirement of the Indian Railways through market borrowings at the most competitive rates and terms.
  • The Company’s principal business therefore is to borrow funds from the financial markets to finance the acquisition / creation of assets which are then leased out to the Indian Railways.

Why in news?

indian-railways-640x420

  • Indian Railways is looking to raise more than Rs 35,000 crore in addition to its budgetary resources in this financial year.
  • The move is meant primarily to procure safer passenger coaches and electric railway locomotives, and pushing the network electrification and signalling modernisation programme.
  • All the borrowing will be done through the financial arm of the railways, Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC).

IRFC was also in news as it will commence roadshows for its green dollar bonds in Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

[Ref: Economic Times, irfc.co.in]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Arunachal’s Siang river turns black

The waters of the Siang river, considered the lifeline of northern Arunachal Pradesh for centuries, has suddenly turned dark black triggering panic in the frontier state.

Arunachal’s Siang river turns black iastoppers

  • The water from the river is no longer considered fit for consumption.

Background:

  • China is being blamed for these changes. China has been planning to dig the world’s longest tunnel to change the course of Yarlung Tsangpo from Tibet towards Taklimakan desert in Xinjiang but has been denying the same at public platforms.

About Siang river:

Siang river iastoppers

  • Siang originates in China and then enters India through Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is then joined by two other rivers–Dibang and Lohit–as it enters Assam where it is called the Brahmaputra.
  • The Siang is an important river of the Brahmaputra and flows for 1,600 km through southern Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo or Yarlung Zangbo before it enters India.
  • Siang is also known as Dihang in India, which joins the Lohit after flowing for 230 km. The Dibang joins at about 35 km downstream of Pasighat in East Siang district to form the Brahmaputra.
  • The Suspension Bridge on Siang River is made of cane and bamboo and this interesting feature invites a lot of visitors to inspect and wonder in amaze about this raw natural beauty.

Suspension-Bridge-on-Siang-River-iastoppers

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

North Korea tests most powerful ICBM ‘Hwasong-15’

North Korea successfully launched Hwasong-15, a new type of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Image: NKOREA-US-MISSILE-DIPLOMACY
Getty Images

About Hwasong-15:

  • Hwasong-15 ICBM is North Korea’s most powerful ICBM that can reach entire eastern US seaboard and Washington.
  • Hwasong-15 ICBM is ‘significantly more’ powerful than previous missiles. It is upgraded version of Hwasong-14 ICBM.
  • It is North Korea’s ‘greatest ICBM’ that could be armed with ‘super-large heavy nuclear warhead’.
  • It is the first ballistic missile developed by North Korea that is theoretically capable of reaching United States mainland (including Washington DC).
  • Based on its trajectory and distance during the test, the missile has range of more than 13,000 km which covers all of Earth’s continents, except South America and Antarctica.

Hwasong-15-iastoppers

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

India donates 500 tonnes of rice to Lesotho

India donated 500 metric tonnes of rice to the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, which is facing acute food shortage due to famine.

India-donates-500-tonnes-of-rice-to-Lesotho-iastoppers

About Lesotho:

Lesotho1 map iastoppers

  • Lesotho is an enclaved, landlocked country in southern Africa completely surrounded by South Africa
  • Its capital and largest city is Maseru.
  • It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
  • The majority of households subsist on farming.

Lesotho2 map iastoppers

India- Lesotho relations:

  • Relations between India and Lesotho have been marked by an exchange of visits between the two countries at the political and official levels as well as a growing economic partnership bolstered by people-to-people exchanges through cultural exchange programmes, education and training to provide a firm foundation to the relationship.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Navy gets access to Singapore’s Changi naval base

In a strategic move that is likely to irk China, India and Singapore have signed a bilateral agreement that will allow Indian Navy ships logistical support, including refuelling, at Singapore’s Changi naval base located near the disputed South China Sea.

Navy-gets-access-to-Singapore’s-Changi-naval-base-iastoppers

How will India get benefited from this agreement?

  • The Bilateral Agreement for Navy Cooperation will allow Indian Navy ships sailing through disputed SCS or in eastern waters of Andaman Sea to refuel, restock and if needed rearm at Singapore’s Changi naval base.
  • It will allow Indian Navy to directly engage with Singaporean authorities to use their facilities unlike present structure that take weeks if political clearances need to be obtained in Singapore.

Strategic significance of Singapore:

singapore-map-iastoppers

  • Singapore is strategically situated on major international sea routes – Straits of Singapore and Malacca – and connects Pacific and Indian Oceans making it economically important. It acts as centre for international communications, transportations and trade to southeast Asia. The nearest Indian base is in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Changi naval base iastoppers

Significance of the agreement:

  • The naval logistics agreement is the first for India with a country located east of Malacca.
  • The agreement looks at increased cooperation in maritime security, joint exercises, temporary deployment between India and Singapore.
  • The Changi base will enhance Indian Navy’s operational reach. It will also play prominent role in protection of naval vessels, supplies, repair facilities, administration and logistics support.
  • It will give boost to India’s Act East Policy and strengthen India’s role for safety, stability, regional peace and navigational freedom.
[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

India and Italy sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in health sector

  • India and Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector.
  • The MoU is aimed at establishing comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-institutional cooperation between the two countries in the field of health.

Location of Italy:

Italy-map-iastoppers

 

Karnataka first state where women head police, bureaucracy

Karnataka-first-state-where-women-head-police,-bureaucracy-iastoppers

  • Karnataka has become the first state in the country where administration, both civil and police, is headed by women.
  • With IAS officer K Ratna Prabha being appointed the chief secretary and the recent appointment of 1983-batch IPS officer Neelamani N Raju as the director general and inspector general of police (DG&IGP), Karnataka has scored high on the bureaucratic front.

 

Mirabai Chanu wins gold medal at World Weightlifting Championships

mirabaichanu-kn7G--621x414@LiveMint

  • India’s Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won gold medal at World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, United States.
  • With this victory, Mirabai Chanu became first Indian in over two decades to win the medal at the Championships.
  • She is only second Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to achieve this feat. Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleshwari had won the top prize in worlds twice in 1994 and 1995.

 

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