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15 November Current Affairs

SC dismisses pleas to review Rafale ruling, raps Rahul

In News:

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, dismissed petitions seeking a review of its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft.

About Rafale Deal:

India and France has signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of 7.87 billion Euros.

The deal was signed by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian. Eric Trappier in New Delhi.

This is the first fighter aircraft deal signed by India with other country since the purchase of Sukhoi aircrafts from Russia in the late 1990’s.

Key Facts:

The defence deal includes the aircraft in fly-away condition, simulators, weapons, spares, maintenance, and Performance Based Logistics support for five years.

The Rafale is a twin-engine fighter, multi-role fighter aircraft manufactured by French aviation company Dassault.

These aircrafts is capable of carrying out all combat missions such as interception, air defence, in-depth strikes, ground support, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.

They will come with various India- specific modifications including Israeli helmet mounted displays, low band jammers, radar warning receivers, infra-red search and tracking, 10 hour flight data recording, towed decoy systems among others.

The weapons package of deal includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile which is considered the best in the class with range of over 150 kms.

It also includes Scalp long range air to ground missiles. Meteor missile has a superior BVR than any of its competitor in the South Asia region.


The Rafale fighter jets are likely to succeed ageing fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF’s) Mirage fighters for nuclear warhead delivery as part of India’s nuclear doctrine.

They will be stationed at two IAF bases, Sarsawa in Haryana and Hasimara in West Bengal.

Integration of Meteor missile on Rafale jets give IAF air superiority to hit targets inside both Pakistan and across northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary.


The deal comes after 17 months of tough negotiations since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision for direct purchase of the Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition in April 2014 citing “critical operational necessity” of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Amend prayer in PIL plea on RTC privatisation: HC

In News:

Observing that the PIL petition challenging the State Cabinet decision on ‘TSRTC privatisation’ was at variance with its content, the Telangana High Court directed the petitioner’s counsel to come up with an amended prayer.


While the petitioner’s counsel Chikkud Prabhakar agreed to file amended prayer, the HC extended the stay order on the matter when it will resume hearing. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy told the counsel that the Cabinet decision was about privatisation of 5,100 TSRTC permits while the prayer was on TSRTC privatisation.

About PIL:

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) means a legal action initiated in a court for the enforcement of public interest in which their legal rights or liabilities are affected.

Article 32 of the Constitution contains provisions regarding the involvement of public in the judiciary.

Objectives of PIL:

  • Obtaining justice for the people.
  • Voicing people’s grievances through the legal process.
  • A PIL can be filed in any High Court or directly in the Supreme Court.
  • The concept of PIL is in consonance with the principles enshrined in Article 39A of the Constitution to protect and deliver social justice with the help of law.

Some of the matters which are entertained under PIL are:

  1. Bonded Labour matters
  2. Neglected Children.
  3. Non-payment of minimum wages to workers and exploitation of casual workers.
  4. Atrocities on women.
  5. Environmental pollution and disturbance of ecological balance.
  6. Food adulteration.
  7. Maintenance of heritage and culture.

Need for PIL:

  • Public Interest Litigation is an important instrument of social change.
  • For maintaining Rule of law and accelerating the balance between law and justice.
  • It is for the welfare of every section of society.
  • It is beneficial for the developing country like India.
  • To combat the atrocities prevailing in society.

Federal Reserve’s

In News:

President Donald Trump criticised the Federal Reserve’s raising and then cutting of interest rates as it puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage with other countries and thus called for introducing negative interest rates.


A negative interest means that instead of the bank paying you money to keep in the savings account, you pay the bank to do so. It also means that anyone can borrow money from the bank and pay back less than what he borrowed.

Objective: Negative interest rates are expected to make consumers save less and spend more; they are also expected to make banks lend more. In essence, negative interest rates are expected to boost economic activity when all other efforts fail.

Global scenario: Sweden did it first in 2009 but now European Central Bank rates are also negative as are Japanese rates.


Negative interest rates completely alter the way normal investment and savings behaviour function because now a saver is paying for parting with cash and a borrower is being perversely incentivised to borrow more.

The financial viability of banks comes under strain if the loans they extend lose money by design. This forces banks to also raise charges on other services, making them more costly than they need to be — in turn, hurting consumer demand.

Data shows that European economies and Japan continue to struggle with growth. For the most part, people have not spent the cash, and because they haven’t, businesses haven’t taken new loans to set up more production capacities.

Premature Deaths In India

In News:

An analysis on Premature deaths in India was published in The Lancet Global Health. The study was funded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and looked at about 9.7 million deaths in India in 2017.

Key findings:

Every condition that was common in one part of India was uncommon elsewhere. For example, the North-eastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh account for 44% of India’s cancer burden.

Premature deaths due to various causes, expressed as Years of Life Lost (YLLs), too were unevenly distributed in terms of the burden on the states. For example,

Liver and alcohol-related YLL rates were high in the northeastern states, Bihar, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, accounting for 18% of national YLLs.

Suicide YLL rates were highest in the southern states, accounting for 15% of national totals.

Road traffic injuries were high in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, accounting for 33% of national totals.

Drowning YLL rates, meanwhile, were highest in the central states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and in Assam in the Northeast, accounting for 11% of national totals.

In 2017, India had 486 million DALYs (disability-adjusted life years, a measure of the number of years lost due to ill health or disability). The ratio of DALYs to the 9.7 million deaths was about 50 to 1. More than three quarters of deaths and DALYs occurred in rural areas.

39th India International Trade Fair (IITF)

In News:

39th India International Trade Fair (IITF) will begin on November 14 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.


Background: Ever since its inception in 1980, it is held every year between 14–27 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Objective: It provides a common platform for the manufacturers, traders, exporters and importers. The fair displays comprise a wide range of products and services including automobiles, textiles, household appliances etc.

Organized by: India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).

Theme of this year’s edition: Ease of Doing Business.

Focus country: South Korea.

Focus state: Bihar and Jharkhand.

6th World Congress on Rural and Agricultural Finance

In News:

The 6th World Congress on Rural and Agricultural Finance was recently held in New Delhi.


The 6th World Congress is being jointly hosted by Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.

This 6th version of the congress was attended by 300 delegates across the globe who engaged in interactive discussions to unleash the potential role of rural and agricultural finance.

Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA)?

APRACA, representing 81-member institutions from 21 countries, is a regional association that promotes cooperation and facilitates mutual exchange of information and expertise in the field of rural finance.

Secretariat: Bangkok, Thailand.

APRACA is one of the three regional agricultural credit associations, along with NENARACA (Near East – North Africa Agricultural Credit Association) and AFRACA (African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association) that were established, with the help of FAO, following the 1975 World Conference on Agricultural Credit.


Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar river link project

In News:

The Kerala State government is saying that it is taking all precautions to prevent the implementation of the Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar river link project.


Kerala is not allowing Pamba-Achankovil to be connected with the Vaippar river in Tamil Nadu under the inter-linking of rivers project. Kerala asserts that there is no excess water in rivers in the state.


The river link proposal is listed among the river linking projects of the NWDA. It envisages diversion of 634 cubic millimeters of water from the Pamba and Achankovil rivers in Kerala to the Vaippar basin in Tamil Nadu.

Need for interlinking of rivers:

The interlinking project aims to link India’s rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals that will allow for their water capacities to be shared and redistributed. According to some experts, this is an engineered panacea that will reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts besides facilitating the generation of hydroelectricity for an increasingly power hungry country.

Benefits and significance of interlinking:

Enhances water and food security of the country and it is essential for providing water to drought prone and water deficit areas.

Proper utilization: River interlinking projects envisage that the surplus water available in Himalayan Rivers is transferred to the areas where water supply is not adequate in the Peninsular India. Also, huge quantities of water from several Peninsular rivers drain unutilized into the sea, and river interlinking projects help transfer this water to water deficit areas of Peninsular India.

Boost to agriculture: The main occupation of rural India is agriculture and if monsoon fails in a year, then agricultural activities come to a standstill and this will aggravate rural poverty. Interlinking of rivers will be a practical solution for this problem, because the water can be stored or water can be transferred from water surplus area to deficit.

Disaster mitigation: The Ganga Basin, Brahmaputra basin sees floods almost every year. In order to avoid this, the water from these areas has to be diverted to other areas where there is scarcity of water. This can be achieved by linking the rivers. There is a two way advantage with this – floods will be controlled and scarcity of water will be reduced.

Transportation: Interlinking of rivers will also have commercial importance on a longer run. This can be used as inland waterways and which helps in faster movement of goods from one place to other.

Employment generation: Interlinking also creates a new occupation for people living in and around these canals and it can be the main areas of fishing in India.