CURRENT AFFAIRS 11th and 12th Jan 2018


1 . 4th  International  Conference  on  Dharma-Dhamma 

Image result for 4th International Conference on Dharma-Dhamma at Rajgir

Nalanda University, Rajgir, Bihar in association with Centre for Study of Religion and Society (CSRS), India Foundation and Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India organised the 4th International Dharma-Dhamma Conference on “State & Social Order in Dharma Dhamma Traditions” from 11th to 13th January at Rajgir, Bihar.


Dharma-Dhamma has been a pivotal and pervasive concept and an overriding principle in all dharmic traditions of Asia and the world. They have played a dominant and cardinal role in shaping human modes of thinking and ways of living, covering every facet of human existence and cosmic life in so far as they have been the sustaining, regulating and life- enhancing forces in human cultural ethos.

Dharma-Dhamma has been a foundational tenet in all Indic traditions. The principles like truth and non-violence, peace and harmony, humaneness and spiritual linkages, mutual care and consideration, universal friendship and peaceful co-existence, and attitudes like selflessness, detachment, social service, cosmic wellness etc. have been integral part of Indian cultural ethos. Since India’s remotest past these have been cultivated and reiterated time and again by great seers, sages and thinkers.

About the Conference

In this background Nalanda University, Rajgir in collaboration with Centre for Study of Religion & Society, (CSRS), India Foundation organised the 4th International Dharma Dhamma Conference on the theme of State and Social Order in Dharma Dhamma Traditions.
The central theme of the conference was the ideal state and just social order based on dharmic principles.

Through this conference it is aimed to facilitate cross pollination of ideas and foster harmony at the global level. In the present era of globalization it is all the more needed to integrate the world through the common bond of Dharma-Dhamma which provides strong thread of interconnectedness.

Thus, the conference seeks to explore the shared values of the dharmic traditions, which may provide the guiding light to the troubled world today. The deliberations in the conference  focusssed on benevolent State, Governance and integral social order.


2 . Aanchal Thakur becomes first Indian to win an international medal in skiing

Image result for Aanchal Thakur

In a major boost to India before the start of Winter Olympics in South Korea from February, 21-year old Aanchal Thakur created history  by becoming the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing.

She grabbed a Bronze medal in the slalom race category at Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organised by Skiing’s international governing body, Federation International de Ski (FIS) at the Palandoken Ski Centre, in Erzurum in Turkey.


3 . Cabinet approves MoU between India and Canada for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology 

The Union Cabinet  has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canada for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology. The MoU will provide a mechanism and help to foster scientific cooperation between R&D and academic institutions of India and Canada.

Salient features

1 .  An innovative model of R&D cooperation between India and Canada will be implemented under a MoU concluded by the Department of Science and Technology with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

2 .  Under this MoU, the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) programme will be supported to promote India-Canada multidisciplinary research partnerships.

3 .  The R&D projects will be aimed at accelerating social transformation by providing solutions through application of science and technology.

4 .  The participants will include researchers from scientific organizations, academia and R&D laboratories from India and Canada.

5 .  Identified areas of mutual cooperation include safe and sustainable infrastructure and integrated water management.

6 .  This will help to develop institutional networking and support the establishment of connections between scientific organizations, scientists and specialists of India and Canada.


The MoU was concluded in pursuance to the inter-governmental Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the India and Canada concluded in November 2005.


4 . FDI  policy  further  liberalized  in  key  sectors

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a number of amendments in the FDI Policy. These are intended to liberalise and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country. In turn, it will lead to larger FDI inflows contributing to growth of investment, income and employment.


1 . Government approval no longer required for FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT)

Extant FDI policy on SBRT allows 49% FDI under automatic route, and FDI beyond 49% and up to 100% through Government approval route. It has now been decided to permit 100% FDI under automatic route for SBRT.

2 . Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India

As per the extant policy, foreign airlines are allowed to invest under Government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital. However, this provision was presently not applicable to Air India, thereby implying that foreign airlines could not invest in Air India. It has now been decided to do away with this restriction and allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India .

3 . 100% FDI under automatic route in Construction Development

It has been decided to clarify that real-estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is therefore, eligible for 100% FDI under automatic route.

4 . FIIs/FPIs allowed to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market

Extant policy provides for 49% FDI under automatic route in Power Exchanges registered under the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Power Market) Regulations, 2010. However, FII/FPI purchases were restricted to secondary market only. It has now been decided to do away with this provision, thereby allowing FIIs/FPIs to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market as well.

5 . Other Approval Requirements under FDI Policy

As per the extant FDI policy, issue of equity shares against non-cash considerations like pre-incorporation expenses, import of machinery etc. is permitted under Government approval route. It has now been decided that issue of shares against non-cash considerations like pre-incorporation expenses, import of machinery etc. shall be permitted under automatic route in case of sectors under automatic route.

6 . Competent Authority for examining FDI proposals from countries of concern

As per the existing procedures, FDI applications involving investments from Countries of Concern, requiring security clearance as per the extant FEMA 20, FDI Policy and security guidelines, amended from time to time, are to be processed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for investments falling under automatic route sectors/activities, while cases pertaining to government approval route sectors/activities requiring security clearance are to be processed by the respective Administrative Ministries/Departments, as the case may be. It has now been decided that for investments in automatic route sectors, requiring approval only on the matter of investment being from country of concern, FDI applications would be processed by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) for Government approval. Cases under the government approval route, also requiring security clearance with respect to countries of concern, will continue to be processed by concerned Administrative Department/Ministry.


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a major driver of economic growth and a source of non-debt finance for the economic development of the country.


Government has put in place an investor friendly policy on FDI, under which FDI up to 100%, is permitted on the automatic route in most sectors/ activities. In the recent past, the Government has brought FDI policy reforms in a number of sectors viz. Defence, Construction Development, Insurance, Pension, Other Financial Services, Asset reconstruction Companies, Broadcasting, Civil Aviation, Pharmaceuticals, Trading etc.

It has been felt that the country has potential to attract far more foreign investment which can be achieved by further liberalizing and simplifying the FDI regime. Accordingly, the Government has decided to introduce a number of amendments in the FDI Policy.


Measures undertaken by the Government have resulted in increased FDI inflows in to the country. During the year 2014-15, total FDI inflows received were US $ 45.15 billion as against US $ 36.05 billion in 2013-14. During 2015-16, country received total FDI of US $ 55.46 billion. In the financial year 2016-17, total FDI of US $ 60.08 billion has been received, which is an all-time high.


5 . MPLADS  to  continue  till   March 2020

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister  has given its approval to continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) till the term of the 14th Finance Commission i.e. 31.03.2020.

The Scheme would entail an annual allocation of Rs. 3,950 crore and a total outlay of Rs. 11,850 crores over the next three years with an additional annual allocation of Rs. 5 crore per year for monitoring through independent agency(ies) and for capacity building/training to State/District officials to be imparted by the Ministry.

About  MPLAD  Scheme

Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is a scheme formulated by Government of India on 23 December 1993 that provides that each member of parliament of India has the choice to suggest to the Head of the District works to the tune of ₹5 crore per year, to be taken up in his/her constituency.

Administering Ministry

Initially, this scheme was administered by Ministry of Rural Development. Later, in October 1994, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) has been looking into its working.

Area choosen by an MP

Elected Members of Rajya Sabha representing the whole of the State as they do, may select works for implementation in one or more district(s) as they may choose. Nominated Members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may also select works for implementation in one or more districts, anywhere in the country.


The allocation per MP per year stands increased to ₹2 crore  from the year 1998-1999 which has been further enhanced to ₹5 crore  from the year 2011. It also allows MPs to spend up to ₹10 lakh  in any other constituency in India.


Since start there have been reports of malpractices in running the scheme and there have been demands to scrap it. In 2006, a scandal was exposed by a TV Channel, that showed MPs taking bribe for handing over project work under the MPLADS.

Impact and Utility of the Scheme

The Scheme enables the Members of Parliament to recommend works for creation of durable community assets based on locally felt needs to be taken up in their constituencies in the area of national priorities namely drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads etc.

The MPLAD Scheme has resulted into creation of various durable community assets which have impacted the social, cultural and economic life of the local communities in one way or the other.



6 . World Bank projects 7.3% growth in 2018

India’s growth rate in 2018 is projected to hit 7.3% and 7.5% in the next two years, according to the World Bank, which said the country has “enormous growth potential” compared to other emerging economies with the implementation of comprehensive reforms.

India is estimated to have grown at 6.7% in 2017 despite initial setbacks from demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), according to the 2018 Global Economics Prospect released by the World Bank .

Comparison with China

In comparison with China, which is slowing, the World Bank is expecting India to gradually accelerate.China grew at 6.8% in 2017, 0.1% more than that of India, while in 2018, its growth rate is projected at 6.4%. And in the next two years, the country’s growth rate will drop marginally to 6.3 and 6.2%, respectively.


7 . SC asks Centre, States to set up panels on Mullaperiyar dam

Despite the Centre’s assurance that the Mullaperiyar dam is “safe,” the Supreme Court has directed it to constitute a special committee to prepare for disaster management for the 122-year-old dam.

A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, also directed Tamil Nadu, which owns the dam, and Kerala, where it is located, to set up special committees to prepare disaster management plans.

It ordered that the three committees work in harmony. The step was taken to allay the fears of thousands who live downstream or in the vicinity of the dam.The court clarified that these committees had nothing to do with the dam’s lifespan or safety. Their brief would be restricted to preventing a disaster or containing the loss of life and damage to property in case a tragedy hit the dam.

About  Mullaperiyar  Dam

The Mullaperiyar Dam or Mullaiperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in Kerala. It is located 881 m (2,890 ft) above mean sea level, on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki District of Kerala.

It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick and also reached in an agreement to donate water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area (present-day Tamil Nadu). It has a height of 53.6 m (176 ft) from the foundation, and a length of 365.7 m (1,200 ft).

The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is located around the dam’s reservoir. The dam is located in Kerala on the river Periyar,but is operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu state. Although the Periyar River has a total catchment area of 5398 km2 with 114 km2 in Tamil Nadu, the catchment area of the Mullaperiyar Dam itself lies entirely in Kerala.

The dam is a perennial source of water and controversy between Tamil Nadu and Kerala since its construction .