8th October 2019 Daily Current Affairs:
Rajnath Singh in France to receive Rafale:
- Defense Minister Raj Nath Singh to visit France on 7th October, 2019.
- He will receive the Rafale Fighter Jets manufactured for India. He will meet French President Macron the next day. He will also hold annual defence dialogue with his French counterpart.
The Rafale Issue
- The IAF – Indian Air Force announced Rafale fighter jets as preferred bidder in 2012.
- The proposal was that 18 Rafales would be supplied in fly away condition while remaining 108 would be manufactured by HAL – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under transfer of technology agreements.
- The contract negotiations begun but were stalled due to lack of agreement terms. Reasons of stalling were RFP compliance and cost – related issues.
- In 2016, issue rose when the stalled deal was provided to a private party (Anil Ambani).
Why was the deal important to India?
After Kargil war, IAF were of the opinion that the its ability to strike targets require radical improvement. Hence, the government stepped on to initiatives to increase its IAF fleet.
About Rafale aircraft
- They are produced by the French Air Force. The countries that are currently using aircraft include Egypt, Qatar, Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
- The aircraft has the capability to perform several actions in the same time. It includes firing air – to – air missiles at low altitude, air to ground missile launching. Both the actions can be intercepted at the same time.
Ganga Amantran Abhiyaan:
- Jal Shakti Ministry has launched Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan, a unique open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River to create awareness on water conservation.
- Abhiyan will be held from October 10 to November 11, 2019.
- The expedition will start from Devprayag and end at Ganga Sagar, covering the whole stretch of 2500 Km of the Ganga River.
- The ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’ is a unique social awareness initiative that is expected to play a historic and pioneering role in connecting with the people.
- This will mark the first-ever effort by the National Mission for Clean Ganga to raft across the entire River.
- It will also be the longest-ever social campaign implemented in form of an adventure sport to spread the key message of river rejuvenation and water conservation on a massive scale.
- The open-water rafting expedition is expected to highlight the ecological challenges faced by the Ganga River.
- The Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan will cover the five Ganga basin states- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. It will have stops at five spots including Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata.
Dhaka says it’s reassured by Modi’s briefing on NRC
- Dhaka will go by the assurances given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and not the public statements by other Indian leaders, on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, said a senior Bangladesh government official.
- He said the visiting Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and her delegation felt “reassured” after the conversation with Mr. Modi.
- Modi had reportedly clarified that the NRC was a long-drawn, multi-phase process, which had been mandated by the Supreme Court, and the government was only “carrying out court rulings.”
- Home Minister Amit Shah, who indicated at a rally in West Bengal last week that the 1.9 million people declared non-citizens would be deported and the government planned to make the NRC a national policy.
- Bangladesh was prepared to study cases of Bangladeshi-origin migrants “individually”, and take them back if the claims were verified.
- The two sides discussed agreements on energy, water, coastal surveillance and a series of measures to improve trade infrastructure.
- Hasina suggested special economic zones where Indian companies could invest, use Bangladeshi land and labour to produce for the Indian market and export it back duty-free.
- The two sides are also talking about regional Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal road connectivity and a Bhutan-India-Bangladesh regional energy supply arrangement.
Indian in arctic expedition:
- The only Indian in the largest ever Arctic expedition
- For four months from November, Vishnu Nandan will not see sunlight.
- He will be aboard the German research vessel Polarstern, anchored on a large sheet of sea ice in the Central Arctic, drifting along with it during the pitch-black Polar winter.
- A native of Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, the 32-year-old polar researcher will be the only Indian among 300 scientists from across the world aboard the multidisciplinary drifting observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, which will help the researchers better understand the impact of climate change and aid in improved weather projections.
- Spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, MOSAiC, the largest ever Arctic expedition in history, will be the first to conduct a study of this scale at the North Pole for an entire year.
- Previous studies have been of shorter periods as the thicker sea ice sheets prevent access in winter.
- This research vessel has thus locked itself into a large sea ice sheet, before the winter, and will drift along with it. A suitable sea ice sheet (floe) was identified.
- “The aim of the expedition will be to parameterise the atmospheric, geophysical, oceanographic and all other possible variables in the Arctic, and use it to more accurately forecast the changes in our weather systems. My role as a radar remote sensing specialist is to deploy radar sensors on the sea ice surface and accurately measure the ice thickness and its variations,” Nandan said over phone from Canada, where he is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Manitoba.
National e – Assessment Scheme:
- The National E – assessment scheme was launched to make income tax assessment faster, smoother and hassle – free. The system focuses on eliminating the middle men between the tax payer and the officer. It aims at communicating directly to the tax payer when an issue arises in the process of tax assessment.
- NeAC will be an independent office that will look after the work of e-Assessment scheme which is recently notified for faceless e-assessment for income tax payers.
- There would be a NeAC in Delhi to be headed by Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Pr.CCIT).
- There are 8 Regional e-Assessment Centres (ReAC) set up at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad which would comprise Assessment unit, Review unit, Technical unit and Verification units.
- Each ReAC will be headed by Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT).
- Cases for the specified work shall be assigned by the NeAC to different units by way of automated allocation systems.