Must Read News Articles – February 20, 2018


GS: 2

International relations:

Old friends: on India-Iran bilateral ties(The Hindu Editorial)

India must maintain its steady course of strengthening ties with Iran

A Nepal-India win-win(The Hindu Opinion)

Without doubt, like every nation-state, India seeks its own advantage in international relationships, including within the South Asian region. But the repeated experience is that of New Delhi generating animosities, with attitudes and actions that go against its own interests. This forces one to ask from nearby Kathmandu, is there a structural issue with India’s foreign affairs oversight — or is this question itself taboo?

Khalistan casts shadow over Trudeau visit(The Hindu)

The Khalistan issue, which kept India-Canada ties on ice through three decades from 1980, has resurfaced, taking away much of the warmth that was expected during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ongoing visit to India.

New Zealand seeks clarity on India’s military ambitions(The Hindu)

As India expands its influence in southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean Region, New Zealand’s Chief of DefenceForce Lt. Gen. Tim Keating has sought clarity on a probable military component to New Delhi’s ‘Act East’ policy.

Maldives president seeks extension to state of emergency(The Hindu)

The state of emergency in Maldives was on Monday extended by 30 days after a key parliamentary committee approved President Abdulla Yameen’s request, a media report said.

‘Intolerance in India affects Bangladesh’(The Hindu)

Religious intolerance in India affects Bangladesh, said Hasanul Haq Inu, the country’s Minister of Information, on Monday.

Indian Constitution and Polity:

Raje drops Bill shielding public servants(The Hindu)

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday announced the withdrawal of a controversial Bill, which aimed at giving protection to public servants and imposed restrictions on the media, from a select committee of the Assembly. The Bill was referred to the committee for its review following all-round criticism.

‘No info from Centre on Naga pact’(The Hindu)

The Assam government on Monday said it had not received any communication from the Centre on the Naga Framework Agreement and asserted that it would not accept the inclusion of the State’s territory in the proposed Nagalim or Greater Nagaland.

Plea seeks protection for ECs from removal(The Hindu)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Election Commission of India to file their responses on a plea pointing out the vagueness in the procedure for the removal of two Election Commissioners.

Internal security:

NIA expands Khalistan probe(The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has expanded its investigation into the revival of the pro-Khalistan movement in Punjab to countries such as the U.K., Australia, the UAE, Italy and Pakistan.



CBI books head of Rotomac pens for Rs. 3,695 crore default(The Hindu)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Kanpur-based firm Rotomac Global Private Limited and its directors Vikram Kothari, his wife and son in an alleged Rs. 3,695 crore “wilful” loan default case. The Enforcement Directorate is also launching a money laundering probe into fund-diversion charges against the accused.

Punjab to install micro ATMs in co-op institutions across the State(The Hindu)

To deliver effective core banking services at the village level, the Punjab government plans to install micro ATMs in all its 3,535 primary agricultural cooperative societies and district central cooperative banks under its rural financial inclusion plan.

PM calls for re-skilling existing workforce(The Hindu)

The World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2018) or the ‘Olympics of IT’, coming to India for the first time, got under way on Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasising on re-skilling of existing workforce in the backdrop of emergence of new technologies.

Govt. seeks RBI view on system faults(The Hindu)

The Finance Ministry has sought the Reserve Bank’s view on the lapses in the banking system that led to the ₹11,500 crore fraud at the Punjab National Bank and steps required to check recurrence of such incidents, sources said.

Consider privatising public sector banks: FICCI to govt.(The Hindu)

Industry body FICCI has called for privatization of public sector banks (PSBs), saying that the recapitalisation efforts by the government have had little effect on improving their health.

Bank bureau stares at uncertain future(The Hindu)

The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) is facing an uncertain future with the tenure of its members coming to an end on March 31, 2018.

Rajasthan to come up with vision document on nutrition(The Hindu)

Rajasthan is gearing up for implementation of the National Nutrition Mission with a State Vision Document-2022 being formulated to ensure convergence of work by all stakeholders for improving nutrition levels of women and children and reducing undernutrition and low birth weight by 2% each year.

Fixing delivery: on direct benefit transfer in fertilizers(The Hindu Opinion)

The efficiencies of the direct benefit transfer for fertilizer subsidies should be increasingly visible.

How regulation widens inequality(The Hindu Opinion)

While a few large business corporations earn billions of rupees in profits each year, millions of smaller businesses struggle for their survival. Seeing such massive inequality in the fortunes of businesses, many go on to believe that government regulation is a must to end the domination of big businesses and encourage the growth of smaller ones. Such sentiments are common when it comes to the tech industry which is dominated by just a few large companies.

CEA rues breakdown of banking controls, rules(The Hindu)

Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian on Monday said that there had been a breakdown of internal controls and external regulatory systems in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in the light of the latest ₹11,500-crore Punjab National Bank fraud.


NGT seeks report on Ganga rejuvenation(The Hindu)

The National Green Tribunal has sought a compliance report on the steps taken by the Centre, U.P. and Uttarakhand governments to clean river Ganga in the stretch between Gomukh and Unnao.

Indices of a decent society(The Hindu Opinion)

The recent report that ranks India 177 out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index is not just an indicator of pollution but is as much an indicator of our indifference.

Science and Technology:

Vaccines can prevent TB infections in adolescents(The Hindu)

A clinical trial has provided encouraging new evidence that TB vaccines can prevent sustained infections in high-risk adolescents. The results will be announced on Tuesday at the 5th Global Forum on TB Vaccines in New Delhi.

Yesterday’s current affairs material by Forum IAS

7 PM Editorial: India should stand for its neighbourhood first

9 PM Current affairs brief:

10 PM Current affairs MCQs

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