13, January 2017

1.Submarine ‘Khanderi’ Launched
Source: PIB

  • Khanderi, the second of Indian Navy’s Scorpene’ class stealth submarine, was ‘launched’ paving the way for her sea trials.
  • She has been christened after her illustrious predecessor, an erstwhile ‘Foxtrot’ class submarine decommissioned in 1989, which is as per the traditions of Indian Navy.
  • The construction of six Scorpene submarines is presently being progressed at Mazagon Dock Shipyard Limited (MDL), under Project 75 with Transfer of Technology from M/s DCNS, France as the Collaborator.
  • The first of the class submarine, Kalvari is presently undergoing sea trials and likely to be commissioned into Navy by Mid 2017. These submarines, post induction, would form the core of Navy’s conventional Submarine Arm.
  • The launching of Khanderi also marks a critical milestone event for the Shipyard which earlier has delivered two Shishumar class submarines in the 90’s and has now strengthened its position as a submarine building yard for Indian Navy.

Mazagon Dock Shipyard Limited (MDL):

  • Started as a small dry dock facility for East India Company
  • ‘Mazagon Dock Limited’ was registered as a public company in 1934.
  • The shipyard was nationalised in 1960 and is now a Public Sector Undertaking of the Government of India.
  • It manufactures warships and submarines for the Indian Navy and offshore platforms and associated support vessels for offshore oil drilling. It also builds tankers, cargo bulk carriers, passenger ships and ferries.
  • MDL today has established itself as a forefront Defence Public Sector Undertaking, with indigenous construction of several ships and submarines for Navy such as P 15 B Destroyers and P 17 A class stealth Frigates being the latest.

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2.National Youth Festival
Source : PIB

21st National Youth Festival with the theme “Youth for Digital India” begins in Rohtak, Haryana .

This year the theme ‘Youth for Digital India’ reflects the most critical and crucial importance of the thrust accorded to the area of Digitalisation and Skill Development by Government of India and realise the proclaimed national goal for the PM’s vision of ‘Youth Led Development’.

Background :

  • National Youth Festival (India) is an annual gathering of young people associated with National Youth Day. It includes cultural activities of both a competitive and non-competitive nature.
  • National Youth Day is celebrated in India on 12 January on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda.
  • In 1984 the Government of India declared the day as the National Youth Day and since 1985 the event is celebrated in India every year.
  • To quote from the Government of India’s communication, ‘it was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.’

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3.Green tribunal orders test of cosmetics containing microbeads
Source : The Hindu

Issue:
Cosmetics containing microbeads can be dangerous for aquatic life and environment.

  • A plea in National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a ban on the usage of microbeads.
  • Consequently the NGT has directed the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization to test cosmetics containing microbeads.

About microbeads

  • Microbeads are tiny plastic substances measuring less than 5mm
  • They are used in soaps, toothpastes and beauty products.

Why Microbeads are used in Cosmetics?

  • They act as exfoliators i.e. agents which remove the dead cells on skin and teeth.

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4.Supreme Court may hear plea on tax relief for political parties
Source : The Hindu

Issue:
A writ petition has been filed to declaresome provisions in the Income-Tax Actof 1961 and the Representation of the People Actof 1951 as unconstitutional

  • The petition has questioned the logic behind the fact that ordinary citizens are taxed while the political parties enjoyed tax exemption.
  • In the recent demonetization move, the Finance secretary has exempted the political parties from any inquiry for deposit of old notes. The petition contended this move.
  • The petition also asked whether the Constitution recognizes the need for a political party membership for membership in Parliament and State Legislative Council and Assembly

The petitioner also complained that the parties does not do social and moral service but are only at the root of corruption.

What are those sections?

  • Section 13A of the Income-Tax Act of Section 29 of the Representation of the People Act.

What they do?

  • These sections give 100 per cent tax exemption to political parties.

Supreme Court view:

  • The Supreme Court dismissed the petition and said that political party need donation from their followers to project their political ideas and represent the people who follow them .
  • The court also observed that its up to the government of the day to decide what tax regime they need to impose.

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5.Niti Aayog calls for review of RTE Act
Source : The Hindu

Issue :

The Niti Aayog has called for a review of

  1. the provisions of the RTE Act that stipulate that children who don’t perform well cannot be held back up to class VIII.( i.e. to provide primary education to all children aged 6-14 years, stipulates that no child can be held back in a grade, regardless of his performance, all the way up to the eight grade)

The Aayog pointed out that the purpose behind this provision is to minimise the drop-out rate, since demoralisation resulting from failing a class leads to children withdrawing from school altogether. “But despite this good intention, the provision has a detrimental effect on learning outcomes, since it takes away the pressure to learn and to compete,”

The real problem, the Aayog said, is the quality of education as measurement by student achievements. The ASER report finds that more than 50 per cent of the fifth graders cannot read second standard level text.

  1. also suggested a system where direct benefit transfers offer the poor a choice between subsidised purchases or equivalent cash to buy their requirements from private suppliers.

The Aayog pointed out that the Public Distribution System suffers from substantial leakages and there is an urgent need to look into avenues to eliminate them.

Aadhaar platform is one such avenue. It can eliminate multiple ration cards held by the same household and also weed out ghost ration cards,” it said. “In the longer run, an even more effective instrument would be to give households the option to choose between subsidised purchases and equivalent cash,” it recommended. Such an approach will give the beneficiaries the option to buy their grain from private shops, thereby putting competitive pressure on public distribution shops.

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5.New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger quakes in future: study
Source : The Hindu

Scientists have found a new plate boundary being formed on the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012. Scientists warn that the new fault system could trigger more quakes in the future.

Researchers have found evidence for this plate on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin.

How this plate boundary may have been formed?

  • A slip-strike quake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. Such quakes can be caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • They can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes. It is this scenario that the researchers believe happened in 2012.
  • when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean — the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

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6.World’s first gender literature fest in Patna: 

  • The world’s first ‘Gender Literature Festival’ will be held in Patna in the second week of April.
  • The Gender Resource Centre of Bihar’s Women Development Corporation will be organising the festival.
  • The objective of this initiative is to create a platform, to exchange ideas, and to share and learn experiences of renowned people in the field of gender based or focussed literature.
  • The festival will also act as a platform to increase visibility for gender equity and advocacy in the State of Bihar.

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7.India’s first international stock exchange:  

  • India’s first international exchange-India INX- was recently inaugurated by PM at International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat International Financial Tech City (GIFT) located in Gandhinagar.
  • India International Exchange (INX), the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), through its global bourse, will start trading initially in equity derivatives, currency derivatives, commodity derivatives including Index and Stocks. Subsequently, depository receipts and bonds would be offered once the required infrastructure for the same is in place.
  • India INX is one of the world’s most advanced technology platforms with a turn-around time of 4 micro seconds. It will operate for 22 hours a day to allow international investors and Non Residents Indians to trade from anywhere across the globe.
  • It will act as a gateway to raise capital for the country’s infrastructure and development needs. In parallel, it would provide cross-border opportunities of investment with a comparatively low cost of transaction in the world’s most technologically advanced platform.

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