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Current Affairs- 06 August 2018


SC judges upset at change in Justice Joseph’s seniority
  • A few Supreme Court judges intend to meet Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to express dissatisfaction over the government altering Justice K.M. Joseph’s seniority, making him junior to Justices Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran in the apex court.
  • The collegium had “separately reiterated” Justice Joseph’s name to the government on July 16, before recommending Justices Banerjee and Saran.
  • The three judges – Justices Banerjee, Saran and Joseph — are scheduled to be sworn in on August 7 as Supreme Court judges. Justice Joseph is to be sworn in third, following Justices Banerjee and Saran.
IIT-Madras powers up a desi chip
  • Computer scientists and a student team,led by Dr. Neel Gala, from the IIT- Madras have developed the first of a family of six industry-standard microprocessors.
  • The initial batch of 300 chips named RISECREEK, produced under Project Shakti, have been fabricated free at Intel’s facility at Oregon, U.S., to run the Linux operating system.
  • The Shakti plan started in 2014 as an IIT-M initiative. Last year, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology funded a part of the project,
  • Microprocessors can be adapted by others, as the design is open source. 
  • They optimise power use and compete with international units such as the Cortex A5 from Advanced RISC Machines (ARM).
  • At a frequency of 350 MHz, RISECREEK can meet the demands of defence and strategic equipment such as NAVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite) and Internet of Things (IoT)electronics.
A.P. is front-runner in energy efficiency
  • Andhra Pradesh has emerged the “front-runner” in the field of energy efficiency according to the States’ Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index (SEEPI) released by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and NITI Aayog.
  • The World Bank has already ranked A.P. No. 1 in Energy Efficiency Implementation Readiness.
  • In the first edition of SEEPI, Andhra Pradesh is followed by Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra.
Launch of India’s second moon mission postponed
  • The launch of India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, may be delayed till January 2019
  • The ambitious mission was supposed to be launched in April, and was later fixed for October.
  • Chandrayaan-2 will be ISRO’s first time attempt to land a rover, on the moon. The rover, costing nearly ₹800 crore , will be made to land near the yet-unexplored south pole of the moon.
  • Earlier this year, the ISRO had launched GSAT-6A, a military communication satellite, but lost communication with it.
  • Last September, the PSLV- C39 mission, carrying the IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, failed after the heat shield refused to open and release the satellite.
  • The ISRO is treading a cautious path after these two setbacks .
Amendments will dilute RTI Act
  • Corrupt government officials will be able to escape public scrutiny if the Right to Information Act, 2005 is amended according to the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna committee on data protection, Central Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu has warned.
  • Terming the amendments as unconstitutional, he noted that the Justice Srikrishna panel had not consulted the Central Information Commission before making its recommendations.
  • Amendments:
  1. The Justice Srikrishna panel’s draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 proposes to amend Section 8 of the RTI Act, which allows certain types of information to be exempted from disclosure. This includes “information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.”
  • If amended, the Section would “expand scope of denial of information with several ambiguous and very wide expressions,” as the Bill contains no definitions for “common good”, “promotion”, “transparency”, or even “privacy.”
  • According to Prof. Acharyulu - the most dangerous term was “harm”, which is defined in 10 different ways, including “mental injury”, “loss of reputation, or humiliation” and “any subjection to blackmail or extortion”. Any of these could be used to reject information, as even embarrassment could be considered as “mental injury.
J&K to club panchayat polls
  • Jammu and Kashmir is gearing up for simultaneous local body elections to the posts of panch and sarpanch. A panch is an elected member of a village ward and a sarpanch is the head of a cluster of wards or a village.
  • Earlier the panchs used to elect the sarpanchs. This time, there will be two votes — one for the panch and the other for the sarpanch; it’s a direct election. 
Hotline to figure in talks with Chinese Minister
  • India and China will attempt to resolve differences in the setting up of a hotline soon between the armies of the two countries, during Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe’s upcoming visit here.
  • After the Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April, both sides revived the hotline proposal
  • China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe is to visit India later this month.
BC panel will get more powers
  • People belonging to the Other Backward Classes will soon be able to approach a new National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) with Constitutional status to get their grievances redressed.
  • The panel that will come into being following the passage of the 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Lok Sabha a few days ago will be able to enforce the safeguards provided to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) and solve their grievances.
  • Clause-3 (5) of the Bill gives the proposed Commission the power to inquire into complaints of deprivation of rights and safeguards. Clause 3 (8) gives it the powers of a civil court and allows it to summon anyone, call for documents to be produced, and receive evidence on affidavit.
  • Article 338 of the Constitution, which provides for a “Special Officer for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes” to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards available to them under the Constitution, says categorically that SC/STs “shall be construed as including references to Other Backward Classes”, once a Commission decides who they are.
Govt. to seek new bids for Pawan Hans
  • The government will soon invite fresh bids for 100% stake sale in Pawan Hans by issuing an addendum to the disinvestment document as ONGC is ready to sell its entire stake in the company
  • Helicopter services provider Pawan Hans is a joint venture between the government, which holds 51% stake, and state-owned ONGC, which owns the remaining 49% shareholding. 
More time for resolution of stressed power projects likely
  • An additional 180 days could be provided for resolution of 34 stressed power projects with a view to avoiding potential value erosion of operating plants, according to a government report.
  • As per the current RBI norms, banks need to restructure stressed assets within 180 days or six months. If the recommendations of the report, which was in compliance with the Allahabad High Court order are accepted, banks would get about a year for restructuring power sector loans of about ₹1.74 lakh crore.
U.S.-China trade war can make Indian products competitive, says CII report
  • With the U.S. imposing an additional 25% duty on imports worth $34 billion from China, certain Indian products may become more competitive, the CII said.
  • With the U.S. imposing an additional 25% duty on imports worth $34 billion from China, certain Indian products may become more competitive, the CII said.
  • Top exports from India to the U.S. which are covered in the list of items for which the tariffs have been raised include pumps, parts of military aircraft, parts for electro-diagnostic apparatus, passenger vehicles of 1500-3000 cc, valve bodies and parts of taps.
  • Exports of these items stood at more than $50 million in 2017.
  • Sectors like apparel and textiles, footwear, toys and games and cell phone manufacturing are becoming competitive industries in India and need to be encourage.
Marin makes history with third world title
  • Carolina Marin claimed a slice of history as the Spaniard became the first woman to win three badminton World titles with an emphatic victory over P.V. Sindhu of India
  • Meanwhile, Kento Momota became the first Japanese man to win the badminton World Championships.
Hockey World Cup final 
  • Netherlands were crowned Women's Hockey World Cup winners for a record eighth time as a crushing 6-0 victory ended Ireland's fairytale tournament.
  • Van Male (Netherlands) finished as the tournament's top scorer with eight goals.
  • Ireland's Ayeisha McFerran was named the goalkeeper of the tournament
Maiden European Tour title for Bhullar
  • India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar hold off a charging Anthony Quayle to claim the International by one stroke .
  • He is the first Indian to win on Australasia Tour and also became the fifth from the country to win on European Tour after Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh (4), S.S.P. Chawrasia (4) and Anirban Lahiri (2).
Andrea Dovizioso wins Czech MotoGP
  • Andrea Dovizioso, on a Ducati, held on in a thrilling finale to win the Czech MotoGP. Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, also riding a Ducati, was second with defending World champion and series leader Marc Marquez (Honda) third.

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