Daily Current Affairs-26th July 2018

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Daily Current Affairs -26th July 2018

GS-I(History)

Kargil Diwas observed on 26th July 

India observes Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26th July every year to mark the anniversary of the day we achieved victory over Pakistani infiltrators in the 1999 Kargil War. This day is also a day of remembrance for the hundreds of Indian soldiers who were martyred in this war initiated by Pakistan.

Background

  • The Kargil war which broke out in May 1999 continued for 60 days up until 26th July when the war was officially declared over.
  • Local shepherds first reported the presence of Pakistani infiltrators in Kargil in District Baltistan in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir on 3rd May 1999.
  • The Indian army set up patrol units along the area on 5thFive Indian patrolling soldiers including Captain Saurabh Kalia were captured by Pakistani forces alive and brutally tortured to death.
  • Heavy shelling by the Pakistanis started on 9th This was meant as cover fire to engage the Indian troops so that infiltrators could enter Indian Territory along the LOC.
  • Infiltrations occurred in the Dras, Mushkoh and Kaksar sectors.
  • The Indian Army moves its troops from the Kashmir Valley to the Kargil sector during the middle of May. The Indian Air Force also engages the infiltrators by the end of May.
  • Intense fighting continued from both sides.
  • In early June, the Indian army released documents that confirmed the involvement of the Pakistani army which rubbished claims by the latter that the infiltrations were done by Kashmiri “freedom fighters”.
  • Even though initially taken by surprise, the determined Indian Army recover many positions and posts from the other side. Our soldiers fought bravely in hostile environments of mountainous terrain, extremely high altitudes and harsh cold weather conditions.
  • On 4th July, the Indian army captured Tiger Hill after a battle that lasted 11 hours. The next day, India recovered Drass.
  • These were major breakthroughs.
  • Internationally, Pakistan was losing face because of vital proofs regarding its army’s involvement in the war. The USA led by Bill Clinton had asked Pakistan’s Nawas Sharif to withdraw troops.
  • On 5th July, Sharif announced after meeting with Clinton that Pakistan was withdrawing troops.
  • The pull-out by Pakistani forces started on 11th On 14th July, the then Indian Prime Minister A B Vajpayee announced that Operation Vijay (the codename given to the Kargil War) was a success.
  • The war officially came to an end on 26th All Pakistani intruders are evicted from Indian soil.
  • Pakistan initiated the war despite India’s overtures of talks such as the inauguration of the Delhi-Lahore and the signing of the Lahore Declaration.
  • The G8 countries, the ASEAN, the USA and the EU supported India on the conflict. Even China insisted on a pull-out of troops and restoration of the pre-war status quo.
  • India was also praised for showing amazing restraint by not crossing the LOC and escalating the situation into an all-out war between two nuclear-states.
  • The official Indian death toll was 527. A further 1363 Indian soldiers were wounded in the conflict. Let us remember those who sacrificed their lives and youth for the sake of our safety and security. Jay Jawan!

GS-II(Governance)

 VVPAT’s will be ready for Lok Sabha polls, says EC

 Context:The Election Commission on Wednesday said all VVPATs would be delivered well within the time required for preparations ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The Commission is committed to the 100% deployment of VVPATs at all polling stations in future General Election, as well as by-elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative assemblies,” the EC said.

What are VVPAT machines?

The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a method that provides feedback to voters. It is an independent verification printer machine and is attached to electronic voting machines. It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.

How do VVPAT machines work?

When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT. The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.  After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard. VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

 It’s not straight to detention centres for those not on NRC

 Context:The Home Ministry has advised the Assam government that no action should be initiated by the administration or the police based on the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) that is to be published on July 30.

  • The persons whose names do not figure in the draft NRC would not be referred to the Foreigners’ Tribunal as people are entitled to file claims and objections and due opportunity would to be given to them before final publication.
  • People would also not be referred to a detention centre based on NRC exercise.
  • As per directions of the Supreme Court, the Registrar General of India (RGI) is to publish the final list on July 30 to segregate Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the State from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
  • The first draft containing the names of 1.9 crore out of 3.29 crore applicants was published on December 31 last year. The second and final draft is scheduled to be published on July 30.
  • Minister of State for Home informed Parliament on Wednesday that 52 Bangladeshis currently in detention centres in Assam would be deported on July 30.
  • An intensive public awareness campaign has been launched to disseminate information regarding the NRC process, options available for individuals whose names do not figure in the draft NRC, and the procedure and timeline for filing claims and objections so as to address the concerns of people left out of the draft list, the Home Ministry said.
Abolish practice of confessions in churches: NCW
  • The National Commission of Women (NCW) has recommended abolishing the practice of “confessions” in churches as it can lead to blackmailing of women.
  • The recommendations come in the backdrop of a rape case against four priests of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church who have been accused of sexually exploiting a married woman belonging to their church.
  • The National Commission of Women has constituted an inquiry committee to look into alleged sexual assaults against women in churches, and has sent its findings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and the DGP of Kerala and Punjab.
SC raps Centre on access for disabled
  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the government for not complying with its directions last year to make public places disabled-friendly.
  • The court also turned its ire on the States for not making any effort.
  • It said further disobedience ran the risk of the Chief Secretaries having to be present in the courtroom to explain their apathy.

Background:

  • Right to dignity is ensured constitutionally to all citizens and all citizens includes disabled as well.
  • On December 15 last year, the court gave 11 directions to make public transport, government offices and educational institutions disabled-friendly.
  • It said it was imperative to provide proper and safe access to roads, transport, buildings and public places to differently-abled people so that they could enjoy a meaningful life and contribute to the progress of the nation.

Odisha Government Launches ‘Green Mahanadi Mission’

  • The Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik launched the ‘Green Mahanadi Mission’. The CM launched the mission by planting a sapling on the bank of river Mahanadi during his visit to Boudh and Subarnapur districts in western Odisha.
  • The main objective of the mission is to stop soil erosion on river banks and recharge the groundwater reserve.

Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & MyGov Launches ‘Innovate India Platform’

  • Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission and Arvind Gupta CEO, MyGov launched the “#InnovateIndia Platform”, a collaboration between the Atal Innovation Mission and MyGov, a citizen-centric platform of the Government of India.
  • The #InnovateIndia MyGov-AIM portal creates the innovations platform for registering both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at a national level.

National Sports Day has been postponed to September 25, 2018

  • The Sports Ministry has postponed the National Sports Day to September 25, 2018. It has also announced that the outstanding performances of players at the Asian games could be considered for the National Sports Awards.
  • Every year, the Sports Day is traditionally celebrated on August 29. But this year, with the Asian Games going on, the ministry has decided to postpone the event this time. The Asian Games are scheduled from August 18-September 2. Hence the National Sports Day will be held on September 25.

Second Meeting of National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges Held in New Delhi

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development organised a second meeting of under POSHAN Abhiyan in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, NITI Aayog.
  • It was declared that the month of September will be celebrated as National Nutrition Month every year.
  • During the meeting in-principle approval of the guidelines for construction of Anganwadi centres in urban areas/slums under Anganwadi services was also given.

GS-II(International Affairs)

The 10th edition of BRICS Summit began in Johannesburg, South Africa.

  • It is the 3-day long summit and will be attended by all the BRICS leaders.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-nation tour of Africa will culminate in South Africa.
  • The theme for this summit is ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution’.
  • He is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit.
India to help Bangladesh in warship design
  • Garden Reach Ship Builders (GRSE) of Kolkata, a defence public sector undertaking, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Khulna Shipyard Limited (KSY) of Bangladesh to help the country in design and construction of warships.
  • Incidentally, Bangladesh has procured two conventional diesel-electric submarines from China.
  • The two countries also instituted the Indian Navy-Bangladesh Navy Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT), which will be an annual feature.
  • Of late, assistance in capacity-building and supply of military hardware have emerged as major tools of India’s defence diplomacy in the region.

 Ireland to hold international conference of female parliamentarians

  • “The International Congress of Parliamentary Women’s Caucuses” will be held at Dublin Castle on September 9-10 and the event will be attended by an estimated 300 delegates from over 27 countries.
  • This conference is organised by the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (IWPC), a cross-party forum for female parliamentarians within the Irish parliament.

Indian Air Force to participate In Australia’s Pitch Black Exercise

  • An Indian Air Force contingent comprising of four Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft landed at Darwin Air Force Base, Australia for participating in the Exercise Pitch Black-2018.
  • This is the first time that an Indian Air Force contingent is participating in this multinational air exercise in Australia.
  • The Indian Air Force contingent consists of 145 personnel.
  • The contingent will undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment.

Pakistan polls conducted.

It is for the second time that the power is being transferred from one Civilian Government to the other, in Pakistan.  It was the military that ruled Pakistan for about half of its history and still sets key security and foreign policy in the nuclear-armed nation.

  • The Economy of Pakistan is in a crisis. Whichever party wins Pakistan’s upcoming general election will take over an economy on the brink of a balance of payments crisis. Growth is likely to slow sharply regardless of who wins the election,” said Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics.
  • Capital Economics forecasts GDP growth at 3% in the next two years, down from 5.8% in 2018.
  • Influence of the extremist groups has been seen to be increasing.

The Pakistan Muslim League (N)) has sought to turn the vote into a referendum on Pakistan’s democracy, and has said it is campaigning to protect the “sanctity of the vote,” a reference to a history of political interference by the military. While Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf (PTI) was on the lead.

Sanctions relief: on waiver for India under CAATSA:

Context:

The U.S. Congress has released a report allowing the introduction of a presidential waiver of its controversial Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Issue:

The matter was particularly heated with India making it clear it would go ahead with the S-400 missile system deal with Russia regardless of the U.S. law and the threat of sanctions. CAATSA, signed reluctantly by President Donald Trump last August would have forced his administration to impose sanctions on any country carrying out significant defence and energy trade with sanctioned entities in Russia, Iran and North Korea. Mr. Trump had objected, arguing that the law took away his powers to decide on such matters.

India’s three-fold case for the waiver:

  1. No weapons India bought would be used against the U.S.
  2. The U.S., which wants to partner with India in the Indo-Pacific, would hamper India’s military abilities by applying the sanctions or denying the country crucial technology.
  3. India has significantly reduced its dependence on Russian military hardware while increasing defence purchases from the U.S., and it would be unfair if the U.S. rewarded the effort with punitive measures. 

Invest India and Business France Sign Mou to Promote Investment

  • Invest India and Business France have signed an MoU to promote investment facilitation and cooperation between startups of India and France.
  • The goal will be to facilitate direct foreign investment by providing practical investment information to enterprises and support the companies pursuing those opportunities which contribute positively to economic growth of the two countries.
  • Invest India is the official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Government of India, mandated to facilitate investments in the country. It is the first stop for potential global investors in the country.
  • India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world which has not only sustained global downturn of 2008-09 but is also slated to grow at consistently higher rates during next few decades.

GS-III(Nuclear Technology)

New Nuclear Power Plants

  • At present, there are nine (9) nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction.
  • Twelve (12) more nuclear power reactors have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the Government in June 2017.
  • Currently, pre-project activities are in progress on these projects. In addition, the Government has also accorded ‘in principle’ approval of sites for setting up nuclear power reactors in future. The details are as follows

Nuclear Power Reactors under Construction:

State Location Project Capacity

(MW)

Gujarat Kakrapar KAPP 3&4 2 x 700
Rajasthan Rawatbhata RAPP 7&8 2 X 700
Tamil Nadu Kudankulam KKNPP 3&4   2 X 1000
Kalpakkam PFBR& 500&
Haryana Gorakhpur GHAVP 1&2$ 2 x 700

             & Project being implemented by BHAVINI        $ Excavation commenced

Nuclear Power Reactors accorded administrative approval and financial sanction:

State Location Project Capacity

(MW)

Haryana Gorakhpur GHAVP 3&4 2 x 700
Rajasthan Mahi-Banswara Mahi Banswara 1&2 2 X 700
Mahi Banswara 3&4 2 X 700
Karnataka Kaiga Kaiga 5&6 2 X 700
Madhya Pradesh Chutka Chutka 1&2 2 X 700
Tamil Nadu Kudankulam KKNPP 5&6 2 X 1000

 

Sites accorded ‘in principle’ approval for setting up more reactors in future:

State Site Capacity (MW) In Cooperation with
Maharashtra Jaitapur 6 X 1650 France
Andhra Pradesh Kovvada 6 X 1208 United States of

America

Gujarat Chhaya Mithi Virdi 6 X 1000*
West Bengal Haripur 6 X 1000* Russian Federation
Madhya Pradesh Bhimpur 4 X 700 Indigenous PHWR

*Nominal Capacity 

  • The names of the countries with whom negotiations have been held for the supply of fuel for the Atomic Power Plants are Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Uzbekistan, France and Australia.
  • The reactors under construction and accorded administrative approval and financial sanction are expected to be completed progressively by 2031. In respect of reactors to be set up in future at sites accorded ‘in principle’ approval, the completion would depend on their respective start dates.

GS-III(Internal Security)

Special Uniform designed for safety of soldiers at borders
  • The Government undertakes procurement of Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJs) and other necessary protective equipment / clothing for soldiers from time to time as per authorization.  During 2016-17, 50,000 BPJs had been procured for Indian Army through Revenue route.
  • Requirement for special uniforms for safety of soldiers deployed on borders / field areas in the country is assessed regularly and provision for introduction of new items / improved version of existing items is made as per prescribed procedure.
  • Upgradation and provision of improved version of special uniforms is a continuous process for which necessary steps are taken regularly.

GS-III(Space technology)

MoU for mineral exploration

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the following Departments/Organisations for using satellite data for mineral exploration in the country during the last three years and the current year:

 

  1. With National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Ministry of Steel, in February 2017, towards using Satellite data, for identifying potential areas for exploration of Iron and Diamond, in Madhya Pradesh. ISRO has also trained NMDC officials and established a remote sensing lab at NMDC, Hyderabad, for internalizing remote sensing technology within NMDC.
  2. With Manganese Ore India Limited (MOIL), Ministry of Steel, in September 2017, for mineral exploration studies to identify prospective areas of Manganese mineralisation in parts of Madhya Pradesh, using satellite data.
  3. Jointly with Department of Fertilizers (Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers), Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD), in August 2017, for rock phosphate exploration in the Country.

GS-III(Economy)

PM’s Irrigation Scheme Struggling, Only 10% Projects Complete
  • report of the parliamentary standing committee on rural development has revealed that only 10% of the projects taken up under the watershed development component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) have been completed
  • In July 2017, the committee had found that none of the projects under the scheme had been completed and had come down strongly on the Department of Land Resources (DLR), which is responsible for the implementation.
  • The DLR then reported to the committee that after April 2017, 849 projects in 11 states had been completed – 10% of the total projects sanctioned.
  • Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, also pointed out that despite spending Rs 13,000 crore, none of the five key irrigation projects it evaluated were ‘near completion’.
  • According to the CAG, in these five projects, 14.53 lakh hectare irrigation potential has been created but a mere 5.36 lakh hectare (37%) irrigation potential is being utilised

Significance of irrigation projects

  • Irrigation is crucial to India’s agriculture as the percentage of net irrigated area to total crop area is only 34.5%, according to the latest available data from 2014-15. This makes the Indian farmer reliant on the monsoon.
  • The 8,214 projects under the PMKSY worth Rs 50,740 crores are aimed at reducing the reliance of farmers on monsoon rains.

Reasons for in completion

  • Lack of adequate and effective monitoring
  • Timely action to deal with breaches and damages to created infrastructure
Despite Centre’s Bailout, Sugarcane Farmers Are Owed Rs 17,000 Crore
  • In June, the Union cabinet announced a Rs 7,000 crore package aimed at dealing with the ‘current crisis in the sugar sector’.
  • The package has failed in achieving its objective of addressing the ‘current crisis’ as one-and-a-half months later, pending dues of sugarcane farmers stand at Rs 17,684 crores
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution revealed that 351 sugar mills in the country continue to owe farmers in excess of Rs 17,000 crore.
  • Uttar Pradesh continues to have the highest pending dues at Rs 11,618 crore, followed by Maharashtra, where pending dues amount to Rs 1,158 crore.

Background

  • Earlier, in May, the Centre had announced a subsidy of Rs 5.5 per quintal of sugarcane to help sugar mills clear pending dues of sugarcane farmers.
  • In all, the Centre claimed that it had provided aid amounting to Rs 8,500 crore to the sugar sector aimed at addressing the issue of mounting dues of sugarcane farmers which, at Rs 22,000 crore, had touched an all-time high.
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