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Current Affairs - 24 August 2018


Centre wants Supreme Court to get tough with FB, YouTube

  • Finding the efforts by Internet giants to curb circulation of online videos of sexual violence against women and children inadequate, the government is likely to seek “stricter directions” to service providers, such as Facebook and YouTube, from the Supreme Court.
  • The directions sought will include considerably reducing the time taken by the intermediary to comply with content removal requests under certain Sections of the IT Act to less than 10 hours from about 36 hours at present.
  • The government also wants that the service providers be asked to employ agencies for identification and removal of sexually violent content.
  • Additionally, the government is also keen on intermediaries sharing certain data with law enforcement agencies to identify the origin of such content.
  • The issue of tracing the origin of “unlawful” content is already a bone of contention between the government and WhatsApp, which was recently pulled up by the Centre after being misused to spread fake news.
Journalist Kuldip Nayar passes away
  • Veteran journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Kuldip Nayar passed away after a brief illness. He was 95.
  • Mr. Nayar was known for his stand against the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency as the Editor of The Statesman. He was arrested for his vocal protest during the time.
  • Mr. Nayar will also be remembered as a human rights activist and peacenik, and a former High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom.
Veteran Odia actor, Debu Bose, passes away
  • Veteran Odia actor Debu Bose passed away following a prolonged illness, at a private hospital in Hyderabad on Wednesday. He was 75. 
  • Bose had worked in more than 120 films, television shows and innumerable plays.
After UAE, Pakistan offers help to flood-hit Kerala
  • Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered to help flood-hit Kerala. The Pakistani leader’s comments came in the backdrop of growing criticism of the Indian government’s decision to decline foreign aid for flood relief and rehabilitation in the State.
  • Islamabad’s statement came a day after India said it would depend on “domestic resources” for providing short and long term help in Kerala. 
  • It was understood that by ‘existing policy’, the MEA was indicating at the decision taken in 2004 to avoid foreign support in the context of the deadly tsunami that affected a large number of countries in the Indian Ocean region.
  • However, India’s decision to decline aid from abroad drew criticism from veteran diplomats and officials who said that the Central government should have been more considerate regarding the offer of support from the Gulf countries, especially from the United Arab Emirates that has offered ₹700 crore.
  • Some diplomats have however maintained that the issue of aid for Kerala should be resolved through internal consultation at the earliest to avoid any long term fallout. 
Tandon sworn in as Bihar Governor
  • Senior BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh Lalji Tandon was sworn in as Bihar Governor.
  • He replaced Satya Pal Malik, who was appointed Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
‘EPFO data not the right gauge of employment level’
  • The recent downward revision in the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation data for September-June does not imply a decrease in formal sector employment, according to labour economists, who add that there are several problems with the EPFO data and caution against its use as a gauge of formal sector employment in the country.
  • The EPFO on Monday revised down the net enrolment numbers for the period from September 2017 to May 2018 by 5.54 lakh (12.4%) to 39.2 lakh from its earlier estimate of 44.74 lakh made last month.
  • “There is a lack of clarity about the methodology being followed for this dataset. It is not clear what happens when a person changes jobs — and that happens very, very frequently. When someone applies for a new policy and already has an older one, what does EPFO do? Does it merge the two policies? Does it delete one? Does it keep the older policy active?" Abhijit Sen, former member of the Planning Commission, said .
  • Mr. Mehrotra further explained that people at the bottom of the pyramid get low wages, so they are not enthusiastic about their salaries getting cut for the Provident Fund (PF). Neither are their employers eager to pay PF. Accordingly, they have been outside the EPFO net.
  • However, the new Goods and Services Tax regime created a certain incentive for many small enterprises to register themselves on the GST network, and so they may have registered under EPFO as well, he added. Thus, these are not new jobs being created; it is simply that they are newly registered under EPFO.
India, China to improve military links
  • India and China agreed to work towards full implementation of ongoing confidence-building measures (CBM) along the border as well as improve military to military interactions. 
  • This was agreed during bilateral consultations between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and visiting Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe.
  • "Both sides also decided to work towards a new bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence exchanges and cooperation to replace the MoU signed in 2006,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
  • General Wei is on a four-day visit to India, which comes exactly a year after the 73-day military stand-off at Doklam.
  • The 27-member delegation accompanying him consists of key military officials.


SEBI to review MF expense ratio limits
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) might soon review the expense ratio limits for mutual funds to address concerns related to concentration of profits among a few large fund houses.
  • Hinting that the regulator might take a relook at the norms, SEBI chairman Ajay Tyagi said that a review would serve to encourage healthy competition.
  • The SEBI chief made the statement in the context of the fact that the revenue of the seven largest fund houses exceeds 60% of the total industry revenue, while the profit margin of large mutual funds is in the range of 40-50%. 
  • Expense ratio, which broadly ranges between 0.75% to 2.5%, is the fee that fund houses charge investors to manage all the expenses of the fund house.
  • Lauding the performance of the mutual fund industry, the SEBI chief highlighted the fact that the AUM has more than doubled in the last five years to touch ₹23 trillion in June.
India to grow at 7.5% in 2018, 2019: Moody’s
  • The Indian economy is expected to grow by about 7.5% in 2018 and 2019 as it is largely resilient to external pressures like those from higher oil prices, Moody’s Investors Service said.
  • In its Global Macro Outlook for 2018-19, Moody’s said the run-up in energy prices over the last few months will raise headline inflation temporarily but the growth story remains intact as it is supported by strong urban and rural demand and improved industrial activity.
  • Moody’s put G-20 growth at 3.3% in 2018 and 3.1% in 2019. The advanced economies will grow 2.3% in 2018 and 2% in 2019. “We expect the Indian economy to grow around 7.5% in 2018 and 2019,” it said.

Sensational Vihan shoots silver
  • Fifteen-year-old Shardul Vihan became the youngest Indian shooter to win a medal at the Asian Games after he finished second in the men’s double trap here, extending the sensational run of teenaged shooters from the country.
  • Vihan’s silver was India’s eighth medal from the Jakabaring Shooting Range.
Ankita battles, but settles for bronze
  • Ankita Raina played her heart out against top seed Shuai Zhang before settling for bronze, while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan used all their experience to bounce back and enter the men’s doubles final.

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