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    GK & Current Affair Notes for IAS/JUDICIARY/HCS/HAS - 28 December 2017

    Daily Current Affairs – 27 December 2017


    Editorial: Seeing through a glass darkly




    Much has changed since November 26, 2008 terror attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai and terror has evolved into an even more dangerous phenomenon. Recent variants represent a paradigmatic change in the practice of violence.

    To deal with the terror threat, there must be far greater sharing of intelligence among agencies worldwide.


    A different genre


    ·         It is difficult to recognise the new generation of terrorists as a mere extension of the earlier lot of radical Islamist terrorists. The new age terrorist seems to belong to an altogether different genre of terrorism.

    ·         The spate of recent attacks in Europe and parts of Asia, from 2015 to 2017 —

    ·         Beginning with the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in January 2015; the major incidents at Brussels and Istanbul Ataturk airports as well as the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France, all in 2016; to the string of attacks in London, Stockholm, Barcelona and New York, in 2017

    ·         are very different in structure and the morphology from attacks of an earlier period.


    Islamic State, Standing out from the crowd

    A large number of terror attacks in the past three years have been attributed to the handiwork of the Islamic State (IS).


    §  IS is distinguished from many of the other radical Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

    §  The IS’s recruitment techniques, especially its ability to proselytise over the Internet, including “direct to home jihad” as also its more brutal brand of violence, set it apart from earlier variants of radical Islamist terror.


    Even while the IS has gained a great deal of prominence due to its brand of violence, other terror networks such as al-Qaeda and its affiliates have continued to be no less active.


    §  The Boko Haram (Nigeria) in Africa has been responsible for more killings than most people would realise.

    §  The Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network have carried out several spectacular attacks inside Afghanistan.

    §  The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have carried out several attacks inside Pakistan.

    §  Pakistan provides the wherewithal and the support to terror outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad to launch well-planned attacks on Indian targets.

    §  Al-Shabab(Somalia) formalized ties with Al-Qaeda, became the international militant group’s wing in the Horn of Africa.

    Most of these outfits continue to adopt earlier methodologies. These have proved no less effective than those followed by the IS.

    §  The terror attack on a mosque in North Sinai, Egypt in November this year, which killed over 230 persons, is one such example.

    §  In December, the TTP was responsible for a terror attack on an agricultural training institute in Peshawar, Pakistan.

    Differences among terror outfits, do not, however, preclude a complicated pattern of relationships when it comes to operational aspects.


    Incorrect perception on agencies of intelligence failure


    Understanding the constantly altering trajectory of terror is important before charges of intelligence failure are levelled.

    It has become common practice to attack agencies of intelligence failure whenever a major terror attack takes place. This need not be the case in every instance. The usual charge levelled is of the failure of intelligence agencies “to connect the dots”. Most often, this is not true.

    There are many other reasons for adequate intelligence not being available to prevent a terror attack.

    Intelligence agencies are well-versed in the latest techniques of intelligence gathering:


    One common fallacy is that intelligence agencies have remained static, are rooted in the past, and that their personnel are inadequately trained to handle current day intelligence tasks.


    §  Agencies obtain vast amounts of information from both human and technical intelligence, not excluding signal intelligence and electronic intelligence, intelligence from satellites and photo reconnaissance, etc. This is apart from open source intelligence.

    §  Agencies employ data mining techniques and are familiar with pattern recognition software.

    §  Today, noise and signals constitute valuable meta-data. Analysing meta-data has produced more precise information and intelligence than is possibly envisaged, and agencies well recognise the value and utility of this.

    §  In addition, intelligence agencies have become highly proficient in monitoring and exploiting open source material.

    §  Mapping and analysis of social networks is today a critical aspect of their work. This is especially useful when it comes to unearthing covert terror networks.


    Many intelligence agencies today have an extensive database of several thousands of terrorists and potential terrorists.


    What is the real problem?

    Problems arise from inadequate sharing of intelligence across institutions and countries.

    §  The real problem is that when dealing with terrorism and terror networks, no two situations in the actual world are identical.

    §  The nature of threats is such that they continue to evolve all the time. Both the 2001 terror attack in New York and the November 2008 attack in Mumbai were one of a kind with few parallels at the time.


    Anticipating an attack of this nature remains in the area of an “intelligence gap” rather than an “intelligence failure”. An intelligence gap is one denoting an absence of intelligence output while an intelligence failure is one where, based on available evidence, no warning was issued.


    Newer challenges faced by intelligence agencies


    One of the major challenges that all intelligence agencies face is a qualitative understanding of the newer, and many post-modern threats. These newer generation threats, including those by terror groups and outfits, often lie “below the radar” or beyond the horizon.


    Anticipating such threats and their nature requires intelligence agencies to be constantly ahead of the curve.

    Anticipating newer threats is only partly facilitated by today’s technical advances such as new computing and communication technologies. However, these alone are not often enough to meet today’s intelligence needs.


    As problems become more complicated, and as terror networks become even more sophisticated, there has to be recognition that the situation demands better understanding of factors that are at work.


    Way Forward

    Alongside this, and to fill the gap, there is a case for far greater sharing of intelligence and information among intelligence agencies worldwide than it exists at present. This is important to prevent another terror attack on the lines of the Mumbai 2008 attack.

    It now transpires that certain foreign intelligence agencies had additional information about the possible attack which was not shared in time, and which led to an intelligence gap. This could have been avoided.

    More important, such a situation should never arise in the future.

    Terror and terrorism is a universal phenomenon. Every nation is bound to share able with it to prevent a possible major terror attack.


    Important Points


    ·         UP Government launched Prakash Hai to Vikas Hai Scheme on - 25th December 2017

    ·         Singapore's Deputy PM to join Sushma Swaraj at- ASEAN-India PBD 

    ·         Rupani takes oath as Gujarat CM for 2nd consecutive term on - 26th December 2017

    ·         India signed USD 318 million loan Agreement with World Bank for agriculture project in Tamil Nadu  on - 26th December 2017




    UP Government launched Prakash Hai to Vikas Hai Scheme on - 25th December 2017

    The Uttar Pradesh Government initiated ‘Prakash hai to vikas hai’ Scheme, a free of cost household electricity connection scheme for the below poverty line and poor in the state. It was initiated to celebrate former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary, on the eve of Good Governance Day on 25th December 2017. In the beginning, 2 village Lohban and Gausana of Mathura district have been considered under same scheme for 100% power supply. In this scheme, state government aims to cover 16 million power supplies by the ending of year 2018.


    Kisan Uday Yojana- UP government has also imitated Kisan Uday Yojana, a project for the farmers of the state under which present 5 Horse Power to 7.5 Horse Power submersible and coupling pairs of farmers will be changed free of cost. The project will cover 10 lakh farmers by the year 2022 and will result into 35 percent electricity saving. The UP Government has signed Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea on to upgrading the coordination in the field of tourism, culture, farming and skill development.


    It was signed after a commission from South Korea’s Gimhae city visited Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow and talked on the ways to enhanve cooperation between the 2 nations.


    Key Highlights

    ·         The Memorandum of Understanding will go a long way in joining the bond mainly cultural and historical bonds between Uttar Pradesh and South Korea.


    ·         In the past, an accordance was signed to develop Ayodhya and Gimhae as sister cities in year 2000, after which memorial was built in Ayodhya which is visited by many tourists from South Korea annually.


    ·         It is the trust of the South Korea people that 2,000 years ago, Ayodhya princess got married to Korean King Kim Suro. Currently, members of the ‘Crock Clan’ are believed as their successors.


    Singapore's Deputy PM to join Sushma Swaraj at - ASEAN-India PBD

    International Affairs Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will meet India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for a 2-day “ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas” to be organized in Singapore coming month.

    Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Assam, N Chandrababu Naidu and Sarbananda Sonowal, will also accompany her during the function on 6-7th January 2018. 

    The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is observed annually to mark the participation of overseas Indian group in the progress of India.


    Rupani takes oath as Gujarat CM for 2nd consecutive term on - 26th December 2017

    BJP MLA Vijay Rupani on Tuesday 26th December 2017 took pledge as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for his 2nd consecutive term in state capital Gandhinagar. Rupani noticed victory from the Rajkot West constituency with a margin of 53,755 votes. 19 other ministers, along with Deputy CM-elect Nitin Patel, also took pledge on this occasion.

    The newly nominated cabinet was administered the pledge of office and secrecy by Governor OP Kohli at a mega occasion. Prime minister Narendra Modi, Shah and chief ministers of different BJP governed states attended the ceremony. Rupani and his wife also offered their devotions at the Panchdev  Mahadev temple here earlier to the oath-taking function. Rupani and Patel were nominated as the  leader and deputy leader, respectively, of the BJP legislature party at its meeting on 22nd December 2017.
    Vibhavari Dave, the only woman candidate and also the alone Brahmin face in the advisory committee is an important leader from Saurashtra region. She is also a 3-term MLA. With 99 MLAs, the BJP has a lead in the 182-member Assembly, 16 less than its 2012 sum total of 115. the opponent Congress party that had achieved 61 seats in 2012, directed to increase its sum total to 77. The total dominance of the Congress and its allies in the new House is eighty.


    India signed USD 318 million loan Agreement with World Bank for agriculture project in Tamil Nadu  on - 26th December 2017

    India on 26th December 2017 signed USD 318 million Loan Accordance with the World Bank for Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project to enhance climate resilient agriculture technologies, improve water management exercises and raise market chances for farmers in the state.  The accordance was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary in Department of Economic  Affairs,Ministry of Finance; S. K. Prabhakar, Principal Secretary of PWD, Tamil Nadu and John Blomquist, Program Leader and Acting Country Director of World Bank, India. 


    Highlights of the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project 


    ·         Approximately 500000 farmers, are supposed to benefit from Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project.

    ·         The scheme will rehabilitate and udate about 4800 irrigation storage tanks and 477 check dams that are expanded across 66 sub-basins to supply bulk water to irrigation projects.

    ·         It will upgrade the reliability and availability of irrigation water for farming groups, making them less prone to climatic changes. 

    ·         More than 160000 hectares of presently partially irrigated places will come into full irrigation with this scheme. 

    ·         It will help farmers in improving the efficiency of water utilised in farming and grow crops that are resilient to the increasing threats of climate hazards. 

    ·         The scheme will facilitate farmers to move from a mono crop paddy arrangement to mixed cropping including high-value crops, vegetables, spices, millets, fruits, oilseeds and pulses.  

    ·         It will increase the ability of crops to withstand unfavourable effects of climate change by helping smallholder producers in acquiring new conservation applications such as Sustainable Sugar

    ·         Initiative and the System of Rice Intensification. 

    ·         This loan of USD 318 million from the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development has a five year of favourable period and a maturity of nineteen years.


    Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

     ‘Prasad’ scheme


    Context: The parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture has referred to the tourism ministry’s flagship Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (Prasad) scheme as one whose conceptualisation is “radically wrong” and which needs a “complete relook”.


    What’s the issue?

    The standing committee noted that the scheme was not running properly even three years after its launch. It said, “States are not actually buying the idea of tourism department and their plan. The committee visited Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and during deliberations of the committee, it came to know that they have their own tourism policy. But it seems there is no coordination with the central government.” The standing committee was also dissatisfied with the government’s response blaming state government agencies for the delay.

    The committee also notes that there is something radically wrong with the conceptualisation of the ‘Prasad’ scheme itself. The committee finds that study of the ‘Prasad’ scheme shows that it has not been properly conceived at all. Even today, without government intervention, there are many other well operated religious circuits in the country.” The standing committee recommended that the ministry undertake a “complete relook” of the scheme.


    About PRASAD scheme:

    PRASAD scheme aims to create spiritual centres for tourism development within the nation. To implement the PRASAD scheme a Mission Directorate has been set up in the Ministry of Tourism.


    Twelve cities namely Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Gaya(Bihar), Dwaraka(Gujarat), Amritsar(Punjab), Ajmer(Rajasthan), Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu), Vellankani(Tamil Nadu), Puri(Odisha), Varanasi(Uttar Prasesh), Mathura(Uttar Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and Kamakhya (Assam) have been identified for development under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) by the Ministry of Tourism.


    Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


    Atal Innovation Mission



    NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Government of India’s flagship program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities and industry, has selected additional 1500 Schools for establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs).

    The addition of these schools will give a major boost to realize the vision of the mission to ‘Cultivate One Million children in India as the Innovators of tomorrow’. With this announcement of the new Atal Tinkering Labs, AIM, has selected 2441 Schools across India to establish ATLs to date since it began its operations over a year ago.


    What are Atal Tinkering Labs?

    ATLs are innovation play workspaces for students between Grade VI to Grade XII, stimulating innovations combining science & technology. These open-ended innovation workspaces equipped with state of the art technologies like 3D printers, Robotics, Sensor Technology Kits, Internet of Things, miniaturized Electronics etc enable the students to learn and solve local community problems using emerging Technologies. Students are encouraged to explore and experience Design Thinking and Innovation, using a do-it-yourself approach, and develop innovative solutions to India’s social, community or economic problems.



    NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission is among one of the flagship programs of the Government of India to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs across the country. The Mission has / is in the process of setting up 900+ such labs across India and aims to have 2,000 such labs by end of 2017.


    Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.


     Public Financial Management System (PFMS)



    The home ministry has directed all NGOs, business entities and individuals who receive funds from abroad to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month for higher level of transparency. It also asked them to ensure that such funds are not utilised for activities detrimental to the national interest.


    The directive to the NGOs, companies and individuals to open foreign contribution accounts in banks, which are integrated with the central government’s Public Financial Management System (PFMS), came for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance.



    The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 provides for the regulation of acceptance of the foreign funds or foreign hospitality by certain individuals, associations, organisations and companies “to ensure that such contributions or hospitality is not being utilised for the activities detrimental to the national interest”.


    About PFMS:

    What is it?

    The PFMS, which functions under the Controller General of Accounts in the Ministry of Finance, provides a financial management platform for all plan schemes, a database of all recipient agencies, integration with core banking solution of banks handling plan funds, integration with state treasuries and efficient and effective tracking of fund flow to the lowest level of implementation for plan scheme of the government.


    Significance of PFMS:

    Introduction of the PFMS resulted in effectiveness and economy in public finance management through better cash management for government transparency in public expenditure and real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes. It also resulted in improved programme administration and management, reduction of float in the system, direct payment to beneficiaries and greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.


    Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 


    Finance Ministry to issue recapitalisation bonds to PSBs



    The Ministry of Finance is likely to issue the first tranche of recapitalisation bonds to public sector banks (PSB) in early January. The recapitalisation bonds will not be sold in open market and will be issued to all banks. Apart from this, the government will also infuse capital worth Rs 8,000 crore on the basis of performance.



    Earlier in October, the government had announced an unprecedented PSU banks recapitalisation programme of Rs 2.11 lakh crore. This was essential to improve the lending capacity of the banks and to increase public spending on infrastructure.


    Nature of re-cap bond:

    The government will issue bonds worth Rs 1.35 lakh crore to PSBs against equity shares. This then becomes a cash-neutral transaction (instead of a direct cash infusion). The government can also float a bank holding company, transfer all its shares in PSBs to this corporate entity, infuse some capital into this entity. This entity then borrows in the market against its equity as a AAA Quasi-Sovereign entity and uses the money to recapitalise the banks.


    Fiscal implication:

    Since upfront it’s a cash neutral transaction, fiscal deficit will be impacted only by the interest cost on the bonds that the government pays every year. The government’s overall debt/GDP ratio though will increase to the extent of the bond issued and so will its repayment obligations. Whenever the banks require liquidity, they can sell these bonds in the market, raise cash and use it for either lending or write-off purposes.


    Significance of this move:

    Ultimately, this recapitalisation will lead to an improvement in the government’s finances as it would also be able to sell its stake in public sector banks at much higher valuations. Even on the demand side, some banks who were not investing their extra cash into debt securities due to capital shortage may now be able to do so instead of placing them with the Reserve Bank of India’s reverse repos.


    Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


    Special Economic Zone (SEZ)


    Context: A commerce ministry-appointed panel has suggested few changes in the existing SEZ rules.



    In order to align the SEZ rules 2006 with the GST (Goods and Services Tax) laws as well as for removal of various difficulties faced, the committee was constituted by the ministry to make necessary recommendations.


    Proposed changes:


    §  The Board of Approval (BoA), the highest decision making body for SEZs, should be given additional powers to exempt units and developers from certain rules to promote these zones.

    §  The other suggestions include submission of GST registration certificate instead of sales tax registration. It also provides for obtaining national security clearance as per guidelines issued by the home affairs ministry.

    §  The committee has also sought the establishment of a SEZ Rules Interpretation Committee to help in ease of operations, as well as suggestions to reduce paper work for developing SEZ units.


    What is a SEZ?

    A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a geographical region that has economic laws more liberal than a country’s typical economic laws. They are established with an aim to purport development , promote rapid economic growth by providing tax and business incentives for attracting  foreign technology along with investment. These are not merely SEZ’s but may be called as “favorite Investment destinations” for foreign establishments. Such units would be future sources of employment, hubs of latest technologies and equipped with the best infrastructure.




    Centre releases draft action plan to tackle air pollution in Delhi


    A high-level task force headed by the principal secretary to the Prime Minister has released a 12-point draft plan to tackle pollution in Delhi NCR. The task force includes senior officials from the environment, agriculture, earth sciences, transport, power and petroleum ministries and principal secretaries of Delhi and NCR states.


    Proposed measures:


    §  Put in place a plan to manage crop stubble and ensure that data on its burning is generated independently and in real time by monitoring the fires.


    §  Punitive measures for polluting industries have to be stricter and clearly defined to fix accountability which seems to be very relaxed in the current plan and, finally, the PMO has to intervene at the national level to act on the rising air pollution and health crises.


    §  Conduct source-attribution studies for NCR every year. The lack of data has been a problem in implementation of pollution-control measures. The last comprehensive study on air pollution in Delhi NCR was done by IIT-Kanpur in 2015.


    §  Nitrogen oxide emissions from thermal power plants should be brought under control. In December 2015, the environment ministry notified stricter standards for thermal power plants. None of the plants met the deadline to comply with the norms this year. These include limits for particulate matter, sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide.


    §  Decongestion measures must be implemented in choke points in Delhi, Meerut, Rohtak and Gurugram. Recommendations to improve public transport include adding buses, improving last-mile connectivity, launching a journey planner app integrating Metro, DIMTS and DTC services.


    §  An anti-pollution helpline has also been proposed along with an app whereby people can submit photos of violations to get prompt remedial action.


    §  The action plan called for strict action against polluting brick kilns, especially in areas such as Bagpat (Uttar Pradesh) and Jhajjar (Haryana), operating without environmental clearance. These kilns are required to migrate to zig-zag technology that reduces particulate matter pollution.


    §  The task force also called for promotion of electric vehicles to tackle transport-related pollution. State and municipal bodies have been asked to manage solid waste better and ensure no fire outbreaks at landfills. Agencies involved in large construction projects have been directed to set up facilities to take care of construction and demolition waste and recycle as far as possible.



    The task force was formed after a severe spell of pollution in the region in November when air quality remained at hazardous levels for almost two weeks. The centre and the Union environment ministry faced flak for failing to coordinate actions across states that impacted Delhi NCR’s air quality.


    The environment secretary is tasked with ensuring implementation of the measures, while the task force will step in occasionally to monitor progress. The direct intervention by the PMO would give the action plan more heft.


    Blue Flag for Beach Clean-up


    The environment ministry has launched a pilot project named ‘Blue Flag’ for beach clean-up and development.


    About the Blue Flag project:

    The prime objective of the project is to enhance standards of cleanliness, upkeep and basic amenities at beaches. Under the project, each state or union territory has been asked to nominate a beach which will be funded through the ongoing Integrated Coastal Management Programme.


    Facts for Prelims:


    ‘Mission Seven Summits’:


    What is it? After scaling of Mt Everest in 2005, IAF launched a unique and unprecedented series of mountaineering expedition ‘Mission Seven Summits’ with an aim to fly the tricolour and the IAF flag on the highest peaks in every continent. With this, the IAF has become the first organisation in India to achieve this unique feat.


    The highest peak on each continent – Asia Mt. Everest, Australia Mt. Kosciuszko, South America Mt. Aconcagua, Antarctica Mt. Vinson Massif, North America Mt. Denali, Europe Mt. Elbrus and Africa Mt. Kilimanjaro – are part of Misson7Summit.


    Yaogan 30 project:


    Context: China has launched its Long March 2C rocket with a trio of Yaogan-30 satellites into space. Developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Yaogan-30 03 trio consists of three identical satellites equipped with two deployable solar arrays.

    Yaogan is a series of Earth-observing satellites launched by China since 2006. The satellites are intended for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment and disaster monitoring.




    Afghanistan                              Kabul

    Albania                                     Tirana

    Algeria                                      Algiers

    Australia                                   Canberra

    Bangladesh                               Dhaka

    Belgium                                    Brussels

    Bhutan                                      Thimphu

    Brazil                                        Brasilia

    Canada                                      Ottawa

    China                                        Beijing

    Colombia                                  Bogota

    Egypt                                        Cairo

    France                                       Paris

    Germany                                   Berlin

    Greece                                      Athens

    Indonesia                                  Jakarta

    Iran                                           Tehran

    Iraq                                           Baghdad

    Ireland                                      Dublin

    Italy                                          Rome

    Japan                                         Tokyo

    Nepal                                         Kathmandu

    Oman                                         Muscat

    Pakistan                                     Islamabad

    Portugal                                     Lisbon

    Qatar                                         Doha

    Russia                                       Moscow



    Krishna IAS
    SCO 161
    Sector 24D 

    Message End

    Candidates searching for the following must visit krishnaias.com or krishnacareerzone.com


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