UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 18-May-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Govt. throws open defence production and coal sectors

  2. Cyclonic storm brewing in Bay of Bengal.

  3. Etalin Hydroelectric Power project : Ecology vs Development

  4. Delete criminal content in 1 hour, new French law tells social media 

  5. CCI to probe into anti-trust allegations against WhatsApp Pay: Report

  6. 25 years on, Tibetans still await release of 11th Panchen Lama 

  7. Eye on China, India backs 62-nation coalition’s push for probe into Covid-19 origin


GOVT. THROWS OPEN DEFENCE PRODUCTION AND COAL SECTORS

Why in news?

  • Steps to indigenise defence production by banning the import of some weapons and platforms while hiking foreign direct investment into the sector were among the highlights of the fourth tranche of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package, which seemed to focus more on industry reforms than any sort of economic stimulus. 


Highlights:

  • Union Finance Minister also announced measures to introduce commercial mining in the coal sector, liberalise the mineral sector, ease airspace restrictions and encourage private involvement in space and atomic energy projects.

  • These sectors with these reforms are going to be the new horizon for growth and, therefore, we see great potential in more investments which can be drawn with the reforms that we are announcing today.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/coronavirus-package-government-throws-open-defence-production-and-mining-sectors/article31604541.ece)


CYCLONIC STORM BREWING IN BAY OF BENGAL.

Why in news?

  • A cyclonic storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal lay 1,220 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal on Saturday morning, and is likely to bring heavy to very heavy rain in the coastal districts of the state from May 19, the Met office said here. 


Highlights:

  • Cyclone Amphan, a "very severe storm", will turn "extremely severe" in the next 24 hours, weather agency India Meteorological Department said on Sunday.

  • The weather phenomenon will cause heavy rainfall and high-velocity wind in several coastal districts of Odisha, West Bengals, and Andaman and Nicobar.

  • After Amphan the new name series will come into force for future cyclones.


Criteria followed for naming cyclones :

The proposed name should be neutral to

  1. (a) politics and political figures

  2. (b) religious believes,

  3. (c) cultures and

  4. (d) gender


  • Name should be chosen in such a way that it does not hurt the sentiments of any group of population over the globe

  • It should not be very rude and cruel in nature

  • It should be short, easy to pronounce and should not be offensive to any member

  • The maximum length of the name will be eight letters

  • The proposed name should be provided along with its pronunciation and voice over

  • The Panel reserves the right to reject any name, if any of the criteria above is not satisfied.

  • The finalised names may also be reviewed during the course of time of implementation with the approval of PTC in its annual session, in case any reasonable objection is raised by any member

  • The names of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean will not be repeated.Once used, it will cease to be used again. Thus, the name should be new. It should not be there in the already existing list of any of the RSMCs worldwide including RSMC, New Delhi.


Source : TOI and PIB ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cyclonic-storm-brewing-in-bay-of-bengal-several-coastal-districts-to-experience-heavy-rain-from-tuesday/articleshow/75774367.cms & https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1619051 )


ETALIN HYDROELECTRIC POWER PROJECT : ECOLOGY vs. DEVELOPMENT

Why in news?

  • The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Union environment ministry had met to discuss the 3,097-MW Etalin Hydroelectric Power project (EHEP), in Arunachal Pradesh, which awaits the ministry’s okay before construction can begin.


Highlights:

  • According to the minutes, the FAC has neither recommended nor rejected the proposal, but has palmed off the burden to the Union ministry of power, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the environment ministry’s wildlife division.

  • Now, the ministry of power needs to explain, among other things, the six-year delay in implementing the project (before construction has even begun) and changes to India’s power generation mix in this period and prioritising existing hydropower project proposals based on adverse ecological impact.

  • It is one of the many projects that compromise on ecology in the name of development.

  • On April 24, for example, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) recommended a proposal to mine coal in the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, Assam. The reserve is in the Assam valley and encompasses tropical, wet evergreen forests and the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, home to elephants, Malayan sun bears, marbled cats, clouded leopards, and varioussnakes, lizards, turtles and butterflies.

  • On March 20, the Karnataka State Wildlife Board cleared the Hubballi-Ankola Railway Track (HART) cutting through the Western Ghats in Karnataka.


Source : Wire ( https://science.thewire.in/environment/etalin-is-only-one-of-many-problem-projects-closing-in-on-green-light/ )


DELETE CRIMINAL CONTENT IN 1 HOUR, NEW FRENCH LAW TELLS SOCIAL MEDIA

Why in news?

  • In a strict stand, the French government has passed a law that will force social media companies like Facebook and Twitter just an hour to delete content related to pedophelia and terrorism else they will have to face a fine of 4 per cent of their global revenue.


Highlights:

  • For "manifestly illicit" content, companies like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat will have 24 hours to remove it. 

  • The new law is a result of a year-long investigation by French regulators into Facebook's content moderation practices. 

  • France passed a controversial "digital tax" last year against tech giants that received severe criticism from the US. US President Donald Trump's administration also condemned France's digital tax. 

  • France's digital services tax "discriminates against US companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected US companies," US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said in December.


Source : Hans India ( https://www.thehansindia.com/tech/delete-criminal-content-in-1-hour-new-french-law-tells-social-media-622566?infinitescroll=1 )


CCI TO PROBE INTO ANTI-TRUST ALLEGATIONS AGAINST WHATSAPP PAY: REPORT

Why in news?

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into anti-trust allegations against Facebook’s WhatsApp.


Highlights:

  • The antitrust watchdog is looking into a complaint that the social media giant is abusing its dominant position by offering WhatsApp Pay, a payment service integrated with its messaging platform, Reuters reported. 

  • According to the RBI’s data localisation norms, foreign companies are required to store all transaction-related data and user data in servers located within the country while removing the data from all foreign servers within 24 hours. WhatsApp is yet to completely localise user data.


About CCI :


Principle :

  • Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialize. This would result in reduced costs and wider choice to consumers. A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective

  • Goal : The goal of CCI is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.


Authority :

  • 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.


  • Organisation : CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.

  • 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.


Source : Business Line and CCI ( https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/cci-to-probe-into-anti-trust-allegations-against-whatsapp-pay-report/article31599217.ece?homepage=true & https://www.cci.gov.in/about-cci )


25 YEARS ON, TIBETANS STILL AWAIT RELEASE OF 11TH PANCHEN LAMA

Why in news?

  • Tibetans in Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal and Tibet supporters around the world on Sunday marked 25th year of forced disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama, who is considered to be an incarnation of Bodhisattva Amitabha.


Highlights:


  • It is worthwhile to mention here that on 17 May 1995, when Tenzin Gendun Yeshi Thrinley Phuntsok Palsangpo or Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was only 6-year-old, the Panchen Lama was abducted by the Chinese government along with his family.

  • The abduction took place soon after Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama.

  • The Pachen Lama is the second-highest religious leader in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama

  • The lineages of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas share a unique spiritual relationship and it was in keeping with centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist traditions that Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama recognized the 11th Panchen Lama.

  • After orchestrating the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama, the Chinese government placed a young boy, Gyaltsen Norbu as their own 11th Panchen Lama

  • However, this politically motivated action failed to displace the position of the true Panchen Lama from the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people.

  • Since his abduction, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the UN Working Group of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has raised questions on his whereabouts.


Source : The Statesman ( https://www.thestatesman.com/cities/shimla/25-years-tibetans-still-await-release-11th-panchen-lama-1502889865.html )


EYE ON CHINA, INDIA BACKS 62-NATION COALITION’S PUSH FOR PROBE INTO COVID-19 ORIGIN


Why in news?

  • India has supported a 62-nation coalition led by the European Union and Australia to seek an independent investigation into the coronavirus outbreak at the WHO’s annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meet


Highlights:

  • India has backed calls to identify how the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 was transmitted from animals to humans and conduct an ‘impartial’ evaluation of the World Health Organisation’s response to the pandemic, according to a draft resolution proposed for the WHO’s annual meet beginning tomorrow.

  • Prime Minister Modi had indicated New Delhi’s stand at the G20 summit in March for WHO reforms and referred to the need for transparency and accountability.

  • China, which has been accused of concealing information about the virus in the early days of the outbreak, had later contested that the deadly Sars-CoV-2 pathogen detected in its territory could have originated just about anywhere. Chinese foreign ministry officials even shared conspiracy theories that accused the US military of starting the coronavirus outbreak.

  • World Health Organisation and its director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the other hand, have been blamed for playing along with China till the virus reached enough countries and spread rapidly. 

  • Ghebreyesus, a former Ethopian minister, was elected with support from China in 2017. The accusations - he has denied them - also led United States President Donald Trump to suspend funding to the UN global health body.

  • The draft is also supported by Bangladesh, Canada, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Japan.

  • The draft resolution does not mention China or its Wuhan city.


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-wants-covid-19-origin-probed-seeks-impartial-review-of-who-response/story-nw3ir6VDPywAwLYs5bOVGO.html )

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