Centre mulls over relaxed mining clearance norms  –    (Economics)

  • The Union Environment and Forests Ministry is considering a proposal to allow mineral exploration in blocks with a tree canopy of less than 10 per cent of the area without any clearance from the Ministry.
  • However, areas with a tree canopy of over 70 per cent will be inviolate or “no-go” areas, Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar has said.


India always for better ties with Nepal: Sushma  –   (International Relation)

  • A day after The Hindu reported the “political framework agreement” among various parties in Nepal, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Rajya Sabha that Nepal has made “progress in the dialogue on the contentious issues with the agitating parties.”
  • The Minister’s statement on “The situation in Nepal and State of Indo-Nepal Relation” emphasised India’s commitment to better ties with the Himalayan country.


Cannot link divorce to payment for illness: SC  –   (Indian Polity)

  • In a humanitarian judgment, the Supreme Court held that divorce is invalid when a terminally-ill woman agrees to dissolve the marriage if her husband paid for her urgent and life-saving medical treatment.
  • The apex court laid down the law that a man cannot induce his terminally-ill Hindu wife to divorce him by promising to pay in alimony a sum that will cover the medical expenses required immediately to save her life.


Ending politics of remission  –    (Indian Polity)

  • The verdict of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on legal questions relating to grant of remission to life convicts exposes the haste with which the Tamil Nadu government acted in February 2014 in seeking to release the seven persons serving life terms for plotting to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
  • The court’s finding that the Central government has primacy in according remission to life convicts in a case of this nature is a political setback to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.


Myanmar’s best hope  –    (International Relation)

  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s meetings with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein and military chief General Min Aung Hlaing, nearly a month after her party’s resounding election win, are highly significant, given the tumultuous civil-military relations in the Southeast Asian nation. Ms. Suu Kyi had reportedly asked for these meetings immediately after the polls.
  • But the delay had triggered some concerns over whether the still-powerful military would accept the election result and let her National League for Democracy form the next government, which is expected to assume office on March 31.


Is India actually free of polio?  –   (Health)

  • On November 30, the day India introduced an Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) in its routine immunisation programme, stating that it “will be an important step in the Polio Endgame Strategy”, a case of Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (VDPV) was reported from New Delhi.
  • This was the second such case to be reported this year.


G77, China mount sharp attack on rich nations  –    (International Relation)

  • The developing country bloc of G77 and China on Thursday launched a sharp attack on some developed countries at the climate talks here for trying to amend the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by tying finance to conditionalities in the draft agreement.
  • In contrast to India, which has been maintaining a low key position, the G77+China group (India is a part of it) said the developed countries that had jumped out of the Kyoto Protocol, or failed to ratify it, were introducing conditions for financing which were not part of the Framework Convention.


RBI to comb bank books to unearth hidden bad loans  –   (Economics)

  • The Reserve Bank of India Bank is set to intensify its scrutiny of banks’ financial accounts during the annual financial inspection process as the banking regulator races to achieve the goal of cleaning up bank balance sheets by March 2017.
  • The RBI’s steps to tighten the screws on provisioning for bad loans could see industrywide profitability, especially at state-run banks, come under strain over the next six quarters as more and more stressed assets are unearthed.


Hiding foreign assets to be a ‘very risky affair,’ Sinha –   (Economics)

  • Indian government will start receiving information of overseas assets from other nations and failure to disclose them will become a “very risky” affair from 2017, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said.
  • Cooperation among countries and sharing of information is the key to unearthing illicit money stashed in safe havens, Mr. Sinha said.


Government’s Gold Bond Scheme may not attain target  –   (Economics)

  • The government says its Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme got off to a ‘successful” start. However, industry officials say more needs to be done to ensure its success.
  • Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das recently said the scheme received 63,000 applications for 917 kg of gold amounting to Rs.246 crore in first tranche.
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