CAO The Hindu NOTES – 1st Mar, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

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Date:- 1st Mar 2018

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CAG REPORT UNEARTHS RAMPANT ILLEGAL MINING IN RAJASTHAN (GS 2 governance)

A whopping 98.87 lakh metric tonnes of minerals were illegally excavated in a period of five years in five Rajasthan districts, says a latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report

The findings were recorded in the CAG report, tabled in the state Assembly yesterday.

CAG also says that apex court directions regarding Aravali hills were not followed by the state’s department of mines as mining leases falling within the mountain range area were granted and renewed.

Another finding of the audit was that the environment and health cess levied by state government on selected major mineral proceeds which was to be utilised for the protection of environment and health and maintenance of ecological balance were sanctioned for activities which did not meet the objectives the cess was actually collected for.

Rajasthan has a rich reserve of copper, lead, zinc, rock phosphate, soapstone, silica sand, limestone, marble and gypsum, and most of these minerals are found in the Aravali mountain range.

About illegal mining in India

Minerals are property of the state government, so finally the state is responsible for the mining of its land. And Illegal mining robs the country of precious minerals and in return causes severe pollution and health hazards.

Activities constituting illegal mining:

  1. Mining without a licence
  2. Mining outside the licensed area
  3. Mining more than a permissible amount of mineral extraction
  4. A company’s renewal is pending but it still continues mining.

 CORE SECTOR GROWTH ACCELERATES TO 6.7% IN JANUARY (GS 3 ECONOMY)

India’s core sectors grew at a faster clip in January from a year ago than in the previous month. The combined index of the eight core industries rose 6.7% in January compared to 4.2% in December 2017

The huge jump in output can be attributed to jump in the output of cement and petroleum refinery, and a robust performance by the electricity sector

Eight core sectors

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which helps us understand the growth of various sectors in the Indian economy, released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

The eight core sectors – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity have a weight of around 40% in Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

And of the eight core sectors the descending order of relative weightage is Electricity>Steel >Refinery Products>Crude Oil>Coal>Cement>Natural Gas>Fertilizers


Rs 9,435-CRORE ARMS PURCHASES TO GET ROLLING (GS 3 DEFENCE)

In an effort to equip Indian defense personnel with modern weaponry, the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) on Wednesday cleared the purchase of hardware worth Rs9,435 crore.

The plan if for purchase of 41,000 light machine guns (LMG) and over 3.5 lakh close quarter battle (CQB) carbines for the three services, in the backdrop of critical shortage of ammunition faced by the defence forces.

The government plans to utilize the move as boost to the Make in India initiative with a sizeable 75% of the 41,000 LMGs (light machine guns) and over 3.5 lakh Close Quarter Battle Carbines being procured under the “buy and make category”.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), was constituted under the Defence Minister for overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process

The objective of the Defence Acquisition Council is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

But the DAC approval is only the first step in the long-drawn defence procurement procedure and will take several years for the final deals to be concluded.


GHANI READY FOR TALKS WITH TALIBAN (GS 2 IR)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban insurgents, including eventually recognising them as a legitimate political party.

He called for a ceasefire and asked Taliban to share responsibility in bringing peace to the region. Mr. Ghani also reiterated the perennial condition that the militants should officially recognize the Afghan government and Constitution

Context

Although US was successful in dethroning the Taliban led government of Afghanistan following the invasion of 2001, it failed to eliminate the terrorist organization and thus allowed it to fallback and regroup. With the help of Pakistan and other players Taliban is increasingly challenging the Afghan government through bombings and suicide attacks.

The earlier unthinkable option came to be accepted by the afghan leadership following high rise in civilian casualties in recent months, with the Taliban increasingly targeting towns and cities in response to a new and more aggressive U.S. military policy ordered by President Donald Trump.

The comments represented a significant shift for Ghani, who in the past has regularly called the Taliban “terrorists” and “rebels”.


FISCAL DEFICIT OVERSHOOTS FULL-YEAR REVISED ESTIMATE IN JAN. (GS 2 GOVT BUDGETING)

 India’s fiscal deficit touched Rs 6.77 trillion at the end of January, 113.7 per cent of the target for the entire financial year.

The higher deficit was caused on account of higher expenditure.

The fiscal deficit, reflection of government borrowings to meet revenue-expenditure gap, was 113.7% in the 10-month period of 2017-18 as compared to 105.7% in the year-ago period.

 Budgetary deficits

Fiscal deficit occurs when a government’s total expenditure exceeds the revenue that it generates, excluding money from borrowings. Fiscal deficit in layman’s terms corresponds to the borrowings and liabilities of the government.

Whereas revenue deficit is the difference between the government’s revenue expenditure and total revenue receipts

Mounting Fiscal deficits has been a great concern for India for a while now. Earlier parliament had enacted Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM) in 2003 to set targets to contain deficits within a healthy range. But successive governments budgets has failed to achieve the targets set by FRBM.


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