11th Sep, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
‘Central Reserve Police Forces’ (GS3: Security forces)
Issue: Concerned over suicides and stress factors claiming more lives of troops than during operations, the country’s largest paramilitary force, the CRPF, has launched a first-time project to ascertain jawans’ mental health’
The over 3-lakh personnel strong force, involved in three major combat theatres of counter-terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, anti-Naxal operations in the Left Wing Extremism-hit States and counter-insurgency in the North East, has tied up with premier institutes like the AIIMS and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to ensure better work-life balance for troops.
The data said 156 CRPF personnel died due to heart attack, 38 because of depression and suicides and 435 due to other non-operational reasons last year.
The Central Reserve Police Force came into existence as Crown Representative’s Police on 27th July 1939. It became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28th December 1949. The mission of the Central Reserve Police Force shall be to enable the government to maintain Rule of Law, Public Order and Internal Security effectively and efficiently, to Preserve National Integrity and Promote Social Harmony and Development by upholding supremacy of the Constitution.
Broad gamut of duties performed by the CRPF is:
- Crowd control
- Riot control
- Counter Militancy / Insurgency operations.
- Dealing with Left Wing Extremism
- Overall co-ordination of large scale security arrangement specially with regard to elections in disturbed areas.
- Protection of VIPs and vital installations.
- Checking environmental de-gradation and protection of local Flora and Fauna
- Fighting aggression during War time
- Participating in UN Peace Keeping Mission
- Rescue and Relief operations at the time of Natural Calamities.
‘Tejas fighter jet’ (GS3: Indigenization of Technology)
Issue: The first ever mid-air refueling of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was successfully carried out Monday, placing India in an elite group of countries which have developed the air-to-air refueling system for military aircraft.
With this first trial, the aircraft gets much closer to the important battle-ready tag, called the FOC or the final operational clearance.
About Tejas fighter jet
The HAL Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”.
The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the HAL HF-24 Marut. As of 2016 the Tejas Mark 1 is in production for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the naval version is undergoing flight tests for Indian Navy (IN).
‘Corruption’ (GS3: Governance)
Issue: The cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion, or 5% of the global GDP, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said and urged the international community to work effectively against money laundering, tax evasion and illicit financial flows.
Corruption has been linked to many forms of instability and violence, such as the illicit trafficking of weapons, drugs and people and connections between corruption, terrorism and violent extremism have been repeatedly recognised by the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Corruption laws in India
Public servants in India can be penalized for corruption under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 prohibits benami transactions. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 penalizes public servants for the offence of money laundering. India is also a signatory (not ratified) to the UN Convention against Corruption since 2005. The Convention covers a wide range of acts of corruption and also proposes certain preventive policies.
‘Retrospective taxation’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Cairn Energy, a British company, has reported a net half-yearly loss of $500 million and attributed it as a direct result of action of the Indian Income Tax (I-T) Department on the retrospective tax matter, which has now been ongoing for almost five years.
The final arbitration hearings were held in August in The Hague and involved testimony by expert and fact witnesses and addressed Cairn’s claims under the U.K.-India Bilateral Investment Treaty, India’s defenses and issues of jurisdiction.
What is Retrospective taxation?
Retrospective means something concerned with or related to the past. Retrospective taxation means taxing old proceedings according to new laws. Using this taxation law, the government can tax any transaction which happened even before the law was passed.
The government of India introduced the retrospective taxation system in 2012 by amending the Income Tax Act 1961 and announcing that the amendments would be in effect retrospectively from 1st April 1962. Through this amendment, the Government acquired the ability to tax more than 50 years old overseas transactions involving Indian assets.
‘International Criminal Court’ (GS2: Important international institutions)
Issue: The Trump administration on Monday threatened tough action against the International Criminal Court should it try to prosecute Americans for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and said the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington would be closed for seeking to punish Israel through the court.
The United States did not ratify the Rome treaty that established the ICC in 2002, with Republican President George W. Bush opposed to the court.
About International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC claims the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court. The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC’s foundational and governing document. The States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC. Currently, there are 123 states which are party to the Rome Statute and therefore members of the ICC. The ICC has four principal organs: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry.
41 United Nations member states have neither signed nor acceded to the Rome Statute. Some of them, including China and India, are critical of the Court.
‘Greenhouse gas emission’ (GS3: Environmental pollution)
Issue: Rice farming across the world could be responsible for up to twice the level of climate impact relative to what was previously estimated, according to a study conducted in India.
Other observations made in the study
- According to a global analysis by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in the US, methane and nitrous oxide emissions from rice farms could have the same long-term warming impact as about 600 coal plants
- The researchers investigated greenhouse gas emissions from rice farms across southern India. They found that nitrous oxide emissions from rice can contribute up to 99 % of the total climate impact of rice cultivation at a variety of intermittently flooded farms. These emissions contributed substantially to global warming pollution — far more than the estimate of 10% previously suggested by multiple global rice research organizations.
- The researchers found an inverse correlation between methane and nitrous oxide emissions from rice farming. Water and organic matter management techniques that reduce methane emissions can increase nitrous oxide emissions
Rice is a critical source of nutrition for the world’s rapidly growing population, providing more calories to humans than any other food. However, growing rice is also resource-intensive: rice cultivation covers 11 % of the Earth’s arable land, consumes one-third of irrigation water.
The researchers found that carefully chosen farming techniques at individual farms reduced net greenhouse gas emissions from rice cultivation by as much as 90% by integrating shallow (mild-intermittent) flooding with co-management of nitrogen and organic matter.
If all irrigated rice farmers only used the proposed shallow flooding instead of continuous or intense forms of intermittent flooding, estimates in the accompanying analysis shows that the rice farms with irrigation have the potential to reduce their global climate impact by 60%
‘Nomadic Elephant 2018’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Indo-Mongolia joint exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018, commenced today at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Five Hills Training Area, Ullanbaatar, Mongolia
About the joint exercise
The 12 days long joint exercise will be conducted from 10 Sep to 21 Sep 2018. Exercise Nomadic Elephant is an annual, bilateral exercise since 2006 which is designed to strengthen the partnership between Indian Army and Mongolian Armed Forces. The exercise will see them improve their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under United Nations mandate.
‘MILEX-18’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The Inaugural Military Field Training Exercise for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technological and Economic Cooperation nations named MILEX-18 scheduled from 10 September started with a Grand Opening Ceremony on 10 September
About the exercise
The aim of the forthcoming exercise is to practice the BIMSTEC Nations in planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations. The exercise schedule is focused upon learning of best practices, team building & special tactical level operations in a counter-terrorist environment in semi urban setting.
‘Hurricane Florence’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The southern East Coast of the United States is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence as the storm — already packing winds of up to 140 mph — nears Category 5 strength.
More than 1 million people face mandatory evacuation orders in coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
What is a Hurricane?
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides.
‘Indian Rupee’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The rupee breached 72.5 a dollar on Monday and touched all-time low of 72.67 intraday as the current account deficit widened to five- year high in the first quarter of the current financial year, to $15.8 billion or 2.4%, of the GDP.
Steps would be taken to arrest the fall in the currency, including deposit schemes for non-resident Indians along with central bank intervention, the rupee strengthened to 72.18 but again lost steam during the end of the trading session.
Morgan Stanley expects inflation to accelerate prompting the central bank to hike interest rates by 50 basis points (bps), including 25 bps in the next policy review
Seven countries, including Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Turkey, are at risk of exchange rate crises as investors re-assess their risks following the contagion in Argentina and Turkey, a new index by Nomura says.
What Nomura says?
According to the global financial services major, emerging markets are under pressure as investors re-assess the risks amid monetary policy normalization in developed markets, trade protectionism and China’s economic slowdown.
A score above 100 suggests a country is vulnerable to an exchange rate crisis in the next 12 months, while a reading above 150 signals a crisis could erupt at any time.
As per the index Sri Lanka has a score of 175, followed by South Africa (143), Argentina (140), Pakistan (136), Egypt (111), Turkey (104) and Ukraine (100).
Meanwhile, India’s Damocles score stood at 25.
On India, the report said CPI inflation had moderated (to around 4.5% in 2018 from 9.7% in 2012), as has the current account deficit (around 2.5% of GDP versus 5%). Moreover, the central bank has a sufficient forex reserve buffer, as a result, India’s Damocles score has fallen to 25 in July-September quarter of 2018.
Risk factors highlighted in the report of Nomura for India
The other risk factors for the Indian economy stem from the government turning more populist ahead of the 2019 general elections and a sharper-than-expected domestic growth slowdown, which in turn will trigger equity outflows
‘E-Auctions’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: In a major step towards help improving recoveries by state-run banks, the government has taken steps to reduce pendency in debt recovery tribunals and has proposed setting up of a common e-auction platform for auctioning of confiscated properties.
Significance of this move
If successful, it will give banks an effective tool to speed up recoveries, thereby helping in shoring up their balance sheets and hastening their move towards profitability.
The e-DRT exercise will start from 1 October and will be completed by the end of this financial year
The government estimates that around 10,000 applications by state-run banks involving at least Rs 40,000 crore of assets is stuck for want of approval by district magistrates.
‘Trade war’ (GS2: Effects of policies of developed countries)
Issue: The tariff battle with the US will probably cost China 700,000 jobs, or more in the event of further escalation.
The job losses would come if the US imposes 25% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports and China retaliates by devaluing its currency by 5% and adding to levies on US goods. If China doesn’t retaliate at all, 3 million people could lose their jobs
The study highlights the more profound impacts of the tariff battle on the world’s second largest economy, which is grappling with a slowing pace of growth and a massive debt pile. Things may get even worse: if the US imposes 25% tariffs on all Chinese imports and China retaliates with the levies already announced, the measures will mean 5.5 million lost jobs and 1.3 percentage points cut off gross domestic product growth.
‘World Hunger’ (GS3: Climate change)
Issue: The number of people suffering from hunger climbed to an eight-year high in 2017 as extreme and erratic weather, conflicts and economic slowdowns limited food availability.
What the report says?
- Those categorized as hungry increased by 16.6 million to 821 million, the highest since 2009, according to the United Nations. It warned of the alarming signs of rising food insecurity and high levels of malnutrition as more people go undernourished in Africa and Latin America.
- Undernourishment and severe food insecurity have increased since 2014 in all parts of the world except Europe and North America, the report showed. Hunger is significantly worse in countries where agriculture is highly sensitive to severe drought, as well as changes in rains and temperature, and where a high share of the population depends on farming.
- Adult obesity is on the rise, with more than 672 million, or one in eight, obese, the latest findings show. While the problem is most significant in North America, it’s also increasing in Africa and Asia, where rates have been the lowest.