07th October 2018, Current Affairs and News Analysis for UPSC Civil Service Examination, SSC CGL and State Civil Service Examinations.

07th October 2018 - Current Affairs for UPSC IAS and State Civil Service Exam

International Relations

India, Russia sign S-400 missile deal after summit

India and Russia concluded the contract for five S-400 ‘Triumf’ missile systems, one of the biggest defence deals in recent times, after the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

India, Russia sign S-400 missile deal complete

The announcement of the deal, which could attract sanctions from the United States, was made in a joint statement issued by both sides. “The sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 long range surface to air missile to India,” said the statement.

No pact on frigates

However, the two sides failed to conclude two other major deals, for stealth frigates and assault rifles, that were reportedly ready, as officials said further negotiations were needed.

The U.S. has warned the deal would invoke sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law, which penalises defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea, as soon as the first payment is made, unless President Donald Trump grants a “waiver.”

What is S400 Missile System?

  • It is an air defence missile system that can take down enemies’ aircraft in the sky from the surface itself.
  • The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system, capable of destroying destroying hostile strategic bombers, jets, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km.
  • The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. The missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.

Why does India want S-400?

  • In the words of Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa, S-400 would be like a “booster shot” in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) arm.
  • India needs to be well-equipped against neighboring threats. Pakistan has over 20 fighter squadrons, with upgraded F-16s, and inducting J-17 from China in large numbers. China has 1,700 fighters, including 800 4-Gen fighters.
  • Whereas, a shortfall of over fighter squadrons has severely affected IAF’s efforts to pose a challenge to the enemies
  • “No country is facing the kind of grave threat that India is confronted with. Intentions of our adversaries can change overnight. We need to match force level of our adversaries,” IAF Chief Dhanoa said at a press conference this week.

Strategic autonomy

  • An increasingly-assertive US has been punishing countries doing ‘significant’ deals with Iran or Russia with sanctions. Going ahead with the ‘significant’ defence deals will also be a message about India’s ‘strategic autonomy’ despite its dependence on both US and Russia.

Issue with making this deal

  • The threat that the United States of America might exercise sanctions on India for trading with Russia
  • The US administration is required under a domestic law, Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act or CAATSA to impose sanctions on any country that has “significant transactions” with Iran, North Korea or Russia.
  • The Act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions, in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.
  • In September, a senior administration official told reporters that purchase of major military system like multi-billion S-400 missile defense system would be considered as a “significant transaction and thus has a potential” for CAATSA sanctions.

Countries that already had S-400

  • China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system and Moscow has already started delivery of an undisclosed number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.
  • Last year Moscow signed a contract to sell the systems to Turkey, raising criticism from Ankara’s NATO allies, notably Washington, which has threatened to block delivery of its F-35 stealth aircraft to Turkey.

Economy

RBI keeps policy rate unchanged.

  • Ahead of the festival season, consumers have been spared the burden of another increase in their EMIs (equated monthly instalments), thanks to the Reserve Bank of India holding its key rate unchanged at 6.5% in its policy review announced on Friday.
  • But RBI’s decision seems to indicate it was more worried over liquidity and hardening of bond yields than inflation. It lowered its forecast for consumer inflation.
  • “The depreciation of the rupee has been in some respects moderate in comparison to several other EME [emerging market] peers,” Urjit Patel, RBI Governor, said.

CRR, Repo rate, reverse repo rate

  • Cash reserve ratio is the amount of funds that the banks have to keep with the RBI. If the central bank decides to increase the CRR, the available amount with the banks comes down.
  • The RBI uses the CRR to drain out the excessive money from the system. Scheduled banks are required to maintain with the RBI an average cash balance, the amount of which shall not be less than 4% of the total of the net demand and time liabilities.
  • Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the RBI borrows money from commercial banks. The rate at which the RBI lends money to commercial banks is known as repo rate.It is an instrument of monetary policy. Whenever banks have any shortage of funds they can borrow money from the RBI.
  • Statutory liquidity ratio(SLR) is the term used for reserve requirement that the commercial banks in India require to maintain in the form of gold, government approved securities before providing credit to the customers.

Health

Centre slams rumours, assure polio drops are safe

Rubbishing rumours being spread asking parents not to give polio drops to children up to 5 years as some virus has been found in them, the Union Health Ministry has cautioned the public not to give credence to them.

About Polio

  • Poliomyelitis is commonly known as Polio. It is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. It is highly contagious disease and attacks the nervous system. Young children below 5 years of age are more prone to be attacked by this virus.
  • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person through the following ways – 1) Through the fecal-oral route. 2) By contaminated water or food.
  • This virus primarily grows and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can attack the nervous system and will cause polio and paralysis on an advanced level.

Types of Polio

  • Subclinical: This type of polio does not experience any symptoms as this does not affect the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord. 95 percent of polio cases identifies are usually subclinical.
  • Non-paralytic: This type of polio does affect the central nervous system but does not result in paralysis.
  • Paralytic: This is the most serious and rarest form of polio as it results in full or partial paralysis in the patient.

What is Poliomyelitis?

  • Poliomyelitis in nothing but the scientific term or synonym of the disease Polio. In very rare cases it causes muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move or paralysis. Poliovirus can spread from person to person or by food or water containing human feces and less commonly from infected saliva.

World/Award

Nobel for Congolese doctor, Yazidi activist

The Congolese gynaecologist, Denis Mukwege, who has treated thousands of rape victims, and Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi, who was sold into sex slavery by Isis, have been jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel peace prize.

  • The Congolese gynaecologist, Denis Mukwege, who has treated thousands of rape victims, and Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi, who was sold into sex slavery by Isis, have been jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel peace prize.

Details of Issue

  • The committee said: “They have both put their own personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and securing justice for victims.”
  • The committee said they had both “helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence”. The joint award comes a decade since the UN security council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security.
  • Murad is the second youngest Nobel Prize laureate after Malala Yousafzai.
  • “For myself, I think of my mother, who was murdered by Daesh (IS),” she said in a statement to Reuters.
  • Murad was 21 in 2014 when IS militants attacked her village in northern Iraq. The militants killed those who refused to convert to Islam, including six of her brothers and her mother.
  • Along with many other young women in her village, she was taken into captivity by the militants, and sold repeatedly for sex as part of IS’s slave trade. She escaped with the help of a Sunni Muslim family in Mosul, and became an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.

About Nobel Prize - Prelims Facts.

  • 1896- Dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel (Sweden) died.
  • Left fund to give awards in 5 categories → Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace
  • Later 6th Category added → Economics funded by Bank of Sweden exclusively
  • Started in 1901, Maximum 3 persons can be awarded in each category
  • A person must be alive to be nominated
  • Nobel prize recipients are called laureates
  • Actual medals are given on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death
  • Get medal, diploma, and 8-million Swedish kroner ~ $1.1 million
  • Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway
  • Other prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden