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[22 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

[21 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

SC bats for personal liberty

Personal liberty cannot be compromised at the altar of what the state may perceive as justice, the Supreme Court has said while granting bail to former Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul in a case of alleged corruption.

No need to go through each and every judgement of the SC. These kind of cases have very less relevance from the UPSC perspective. But if your optional is law, then you should go through it.


Army to get only six Apaches

The Army’s request for 11 Apache attack helicopters was cut down to six by the Defence Ministry after objections from the Finance Division, sources say. “The MoD Finance had red-flagged the proposal for 11 [helicopters]. They said if these helicopters go to the Army, it will be a duplication of assets as the Indian Air Force is already in the process of acquiring 22 of them,” a senior defence source said.

Just go through the reason behind it, which is given above. No need to go through complete article.


‘SBI, PNB account for 40% of bad loans’

The country’s largest lender State Bank of India accounts for over 27% of the total amount owed to public sector banks by wilful defaulters. As many as 1,762 wilful defaulters owed Rs. 25,104 crore to SBI as on March 31, putting pressure on its balance sheet.

It is important to know the level of NPA in country’s Banking Sector. But going through the NPA data of an individual bank, separately, is not very much important.


Patriot games at Attari-Wagah

“Louder,” the tough-looking Border Security Force (BSF) guard gesticulated to the cheering, flag-waving Indian audience at Attari on the India-Pakistan border as the shouts of “Jio jio Pakistan” from the Wagah side of the border, barely 100 metres away, briefly dominated the air. The hyper-charged crowds were only too happy to comply and shouted back, “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, drowning out the Pakistani “attack”.

Not important. The Op-Ed is talking about the ceremony at Wagah Border and some historical facts related to the ceremony.

[19 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

GST grounds four IndiGo planes

Low-cost airline IndiGo said on Friday that four of its Airbus A320 planes are grounded as these are stuck at the customs authority over implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

UPSC will not ask any direct question on issues like these. But you can remember the lines above to quote ‘effects of GST on airlines’ or ‘problems related to implementation of the GST.’


Vishal Sikka quits as Infosys CEO

The Stanford-educated Mr. Sikka would continue to focus on strategic initiatives, key customer relationships and technology development and Mr. Rao had been appointed interim CEO and MD reporting to Mr. Sikka under the overall supervision and control of the board, Infosys said.

The news is about the internal conflict of a company. It will have almost no effect on Indian Economy. It may seems interesting but it is not important.


Tamil to head Sri Lanka Navy, first since 1970

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday appointed an officer from the island’s Tamil minority to head the Navy for the first time since a separatist war erupted 45 years ago.

It is not important from UPSC perspective, directly. But the news shows improvement in the condition of Sri Lanka after decades of Tamil Conflict.


Barcelona horror

A vehicular attack to maximise casualties and spread panic is now a well-tested terrorist strategy in European cities. Barcelona became the latest urban centre to be so hit when a van ploughed into pedestrians on a busy street, leaving at least 14 dead and more than 100 injured.

The Op-Ed talks about the terrorist attack, very deeply. Not important from UPSC perspective.



[18 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Rights groups urge India to honour duty to Rohingyas

Days after the United Nations expressed concern over the government’s plans to deport about 40,000 Rohingya immigrants from Myanmar, international human rights agencies Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called upon India to “abide by international legal obligations” and not force them to return, which they termed an “outrageous” move.

Important things are given above. No need to go through the complete article.


HDFC Bank cuts savings a/c interest rate

HDFC Bank has reduced its savings account interest rate by 50 basis points to 3.5% for balances up to Rs. 50 lakh. The new rate will come into effect from Saturday. For balances more than Rs. 50 lakh, the rate is kept unchanged.

Many banks are cutting their interest rates. But we do not need to note the interest rates of every bank, separately. Just try to find out, why they are doing so.


Mars rover to use X-ray to find signs of life

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, which aims look for signs of past life on the Red Planet, will use smart X-ray techniques originally developed to find the oldest life on Earth.

Mars missions are important. But it is not important to go too deep inside the mission, technically.



[17 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

SC orders NIA to probe ‘love jihad’ case

At one point, Chief Justice Khehar told Mr. Giri that the court had asked the NIA for inputs because it was an agency from outside the State. “We thought you [Kerala police] may take sides. So we asked the NIA,” Chief Justice Khehar said.

It is a controversial issue. We will wait for the final judgement. Just go through the headline. No need to go through the complete article.


SpaceX ‘Dragon’ docks in ISS

A SpaceX shipment arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday, delivering a bonanza of science experiments. The SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up following a two-day flight from Cape Canaveral. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer used the space station’s hefty robot arm to grab the Dragon 400 km above the Pacific, near New Zealand.

Not every mission of a foreign space agency is important, unless it is about any breakthrough technology(first-of-its-kind).


SEBI struggles to find Sahara investors

Almost five years after the Supreme Court ordered the SEBI to refund more than Rs. 40,000 crore to individuals that had invested money in two Sahara Group entities, the capital markets regulator has been able to refund only Rs. 85.02 crore.

Generally, any news related to SEBI is important but this article is about a particular company. Therefore, it is of very less importance from UPSC perspective.


Trump’s misstep

White nationalist rallies are not new in the United States. But the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday were unprecedented in recent American history in terms of the number of participants and the scale of violence that followed. Those who turned up in Charlottesville, barely 200 km from Washington DC, have sent a clear message that the far right in the U.S. is ready for a long battle on a white supremacist agenda.

The op-ed is related to internal politics of the US, it will have negligible effect on India. Therefore, the op-ed is not important for UPSC.

[16 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Stem cell therapy may help hair growth

Scientists have discovered a new way to activate the stem cells in the hair follicle, an advance that may pave the way for novel drugs to promote hair growth.

These kind of researches are not important for UPSC. But you can go through the basics of Stem Cells, from any other source.


Aeroplanes may be affecting ozone, monsoon

Aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of black carbon (BC) — a pollutant known to aggravate breathing disorders, upset the monsoon and quicken glacier melt — and may be depleting the ozone layer, according to a study by climate researchers from multiple institutions in the country.

These are only speculations. Only concrete researches are important for UPSC.


ONGC to double gas output

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on Tuesday said it planned to double gas production to more than 100 million standard cubic meters per day in the next 5-6 years. The government is targeting an increase in the share of gas in the energy basket from 6.5% to 15% in the next few years.

Important facts are given above. No need to go through the complete article.

[14 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

ISRO chief Nair met Antrix CEO twice

Former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair, had met alleged U.S.-based mastermind in the Antrix-Devas deal Ramachandra Vishwanathan twice before the agreement got the final government approval, the CBI said.

Normally, ISRO related news are important for UPSC. But this article is related to some corruption charges against some ex-ISRO officials. Not much important, unless the final verdict.


How low can interest rates go?

The interest rate on the one-year term deposit in India’s largest bank has nosedived from 9% in July 2014 to 6.5% now. Interest rates on the three-year term deposit have dropped from 8.75% to 6.25%.

The article talks about some speculations regarding ‘low interest rates.’ These speculation are not important. We should only go after the reasons behind low interest rates(and not speculations).


Exploring Bhutan

With the Doklam stand-off entering a third month, the spotlight remains on a country that has traditionally shied from it: Bhutan. How does a nation described by its leaders as “one of the world’s smallest countries, sandwiched between two of the world’s biggest powers” keep its identity and sovereignty intact? And given that it does not have ties with too many other countries, how has it managed to make no enemies?

The Op-Ed is written from historical point of view(of Bhutan). No need to go deeply inside the history of every country, just(always) try to know some important historical facts.

[13 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Mehbooba discusses Article 35A with Modi

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss the position of political parties in the Valley on the legal challenge to Article 35A that prevents “outsiders” from owning property in the State.

Article 35A is a very important topic. We already did a newscard on the same topic, earlier. Important things were covered in the same newscard regarding the issue. No need to go through again and again on the same topic, as no important thing is given in the article, which was not covered earlier.


System lighter by Rs. 3.5 lakh crore of cash: Survey

Demonetisation has reduced Rs. 3.5 lakh crore of cash from the amounts available in the system before, and digitisation has increased across the board, even among the poor, says Volume II of the Economic Survey .

Important fact is given above. No need to go through the complete article.


BOB net slides 52% on bad debts

Bank of Baroda’s (BOB) net profit slid almost 52% to Rs. 203.39 crore in the first quarter ended June as slippages stayed elevated.

It is important to know the level of NPA in country’s Banking Sector. But going through the data of individual bank, separately, is not important.


Risks to growth

Five months after the Economic Survey 2016-17 was released, Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has presented the second volume of the annual economic review-cum-prognosticatory report

The Op-Ed is full of statements. Initially, some complex observation is given and then some general things about Government policies are given, like loan waiver, farm incomes,etc.(very general things).

[11 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Govt. panel to probe Kingfisher dues to AAI

The Civil Aviation Ministry has set up an internal committee to fix the responsibility for accumulation of dues worth about Rs. 300 crore payable by defunct Kingfisher Airlines to Airports Authority of India (AAI).

These kind of company specific news are not important for UPSC. Only Industry specific news are important, like Aviation sector, banking sector, etc.


The Hindu Playwright Award 2017 presented

The Hindu Playwright Award 2017 went to Gerish Khemani and Akshat Nigam for their play ‘In Search of Dariya Sagar’. The Rs. 2 lakh award, instituted in 2008 to reward the best new unpublished and unperformed play-script in English, was presented during the launch of the 13th edition of The Hindu Theatre Fest at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday.

UPSC generally don’t ask award specific questions, like who get which award. Just try to know about the background of the award.


Confusion in the case of cross-voting

The Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat highlighted the procedural matrix of the ‘open ballot’ system under Rule 39AA of the Conduct of Election Rules of 1961. This says that a voter may show his/her marked ballot paper to the authorised representative of his/her political party before dropping it into the ballot box.

Very comprehensive information is given in the article, regarding the process of Rajya Sabha Election. We don’t need to go through such articles. Just know about the process of RS election from M Laxmikanth or any other book.

[9 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Start-up funding may come under SEBI lens

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is concerned with the manner in which start-ups are being funded through unregulated entities and is examining the manner in which alternative fund-raising platforms and crowd-funding ventures can be regulated to bring in transparency and regulatory oversight in such deals.

We will wait till the proposal will get implemented. Other than this there is nothing much important in the article. But still the topic is important. Try to know more about the issue from other sources.


‘100% monsoon quota this year’

Reiterating its forecast from June, the India Meteorological Department has said India will get ‘normal’ rain during the remaining months of the monsoon season. India is likely to get 100% of its annual monsoon quota of 89 cm, a slight increase over the 98% forecast by the agency in June.

Good news for Agricultural Economy of India. But there is nothing important in the article from UPSC perspective.


Shia board for mosque at a ‘reasonable distance’

“It is submitted that the Sunni Central Waqf Board U.P. is under the dominant control of Sunni hardliners, the fanatics and non-believers in peaceful co-existence, who have no stake in the present case… since Babri Masjid was a Shia waqf, it is the Shia Central Waqf Board U.P. alone which is entitled to negotiate and arrive at a peaceful settlement with the other remaining stakeholders,” the affidavit, filed by Shia Waqf Board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi, said.

Babri Masjid is a serious matter. The suggestion given by Shia Waqf board is an important development. Just remember the headline, and para written above which shows Shia Waqf board point of view on the matter.


Terror on the tarmac

When a reporter was at the right place at the right time

Op-Ed has nothing important from UPSC point of view. It just talks about some incidents of a terrorist attack.

[7 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

After SC order, focus on chemicals in firecrackers

Court barred manufacturers from using five specified chemicals ‘in any form whatsoever’ to prevent air pollution.

We already did a newscard on the same topic, earlier. Important things were covered in the same newscard regarding the issue. No need to go through again and again on the same topic, as no important thing is given in the article, which was not covered earlier.


Rare ant species found in China

Opamyrma hungvuong , an ancient ant species, was spotted for the first time in Guangxi by experts on an ant survey at a national reserve near Guangxi’s tourist city of Guilin.

UPSC generally don’t ask questions on species specific information, as asked in other competitive exams. You can remember the name.


China’s RCEP push veils grand plan

Community social media platform ‘LocalCircles’ recently did a survey on the Indian consumer’s perception about items imported from China. The results gave a peek into the minds of Indian consumers. It showed 52% of participants were of the opinion that for the same product, the quality of a ‘Made in India’ version was superior to the one from China.

The article is about a survey done by a private agency. Every survey is not important, until it is carried out by Government agencies or reputed International Organisations. We can’t mention these kind of surveys in Mains Paper.


Vice-President Naidu

He has to rely on his tact and temperamentin his new role as an apolitical elder

The Op-Ed is written from a political point of view. Political Articles are generally not important for UPSC.

[4 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

NOTA option will stay for RS polls, says SC

Petition said the 2014 circular to introduce NOTA was ex facie illegal, arbitrary and tainted with mala fides. An executive instruction cannot override express statutory provisions, the petition said.

Only the headline is important. Rest of the article is discussing a petition on the issue. No need to go through every petition, thoroughly.


Services PMI drops to lowest since Sept. 2013

Service sector activity in July slowed to its lowest level since September 2013, due in large part to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, according to a private sector survey.

It is a private sector survey. These kind of surveys are not important for UPSC. Only those surveys are important which are released by Government or reputed organisations around the world.


India’s first private missile production facility unveiled

India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility, a joint venture between the $2.5 billion Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., was inaugurated near Hyderabad on Thursday. The Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant will make anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Spike.  Formed in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre and the policy to encourage private sector participation in defence production, the 51:49 joint venture will develop a wide range of advanced capabilities.

Important facts are given above. No need to go through the complete article. Also, we did a newscard on the same topic, earlier.


The NOTA principle

The Congress and the BJP protest too much about its introduction in Rajya Sabha polls

It is a political Op-Ed. In the article, writer is discussing political strategy of BJP and Congress. These kind of political articles are not important from UPSC Perspective.

[3 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 6%, lowest in over 6 years

As some of the upside risks to inflation have not materialised, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday decided to cut the key policy rate or repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 6%, taking it to its lowest in six-and-a-half years.

It is of not much importance how RBI increases or decreases its policy rates. The only important thing is its effect on the Indian Economy.


MRPL project overshot cost and deadline: CAG

A Comptroller and Auditor General audit report on the expansion project carried out by Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals found that the total expenditure incurred by the company on the project was Rs. 14,832 crore as of March 2016, almost double the planned amount.

The CAG does audits of many PSUs. Not all reports of CAG on these PSUs are important.


Banks should reduce rates for existing borrowers too: RBI

With commercial banks having a tendency to reduce interest rates only for prospective customers in order to push new business, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel said he expected lenders to pass on lower loan costs to borrowers who had not received the full benefit of the reductions in the policy rate.

The article is based on an advise by RBI. Banks are not bound to follow these advises. We should only go through the effects of these advises on economy, if followed. Other things are not important for UPSC.


A judgment for the ages

The Supreme Court must define the contours of the right to privacy in a way that doesn’t undo it

We have done many newscards on the issue. No need to go through again and again on the same topic. If you are aware of the issue, then no need to read this Op-Ed.


[2 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Decontrol will now be faster: ICRA

The government’s recent decision to allow public sector oil marketing companies (OMC) to increase the price of subsidised LPG by Rs. 4 per month instead of two rupees a month earlier will hasten the price deregulation process, rating agency ICRA said on Tuesday.

Every comment from rating agencies is not important. Only those comments are important, which shows some kind of significant effects on Economy.


Panel to draft data protection Bill, SC told

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will work with the panel and hand over all necessary information to it within the next eight weeks, after which the latter will start its deliberations. The Committee is expected to submit its report expeditiously.

Not much important facts or points are given in the article, we will wait for the final report.


Modi announces Rs. 2,350 cr. for NE

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a total package of Rs. 2,350 crore for the north eastern States hit by floods and an immediate release of Rs. 250 crore for flood-hit Assam, as he undertook a visit here to assess the situation. The Prime Minister also announced a Rs. 100 crore corpus for a research project to study the Brahmaputra river and its role in creating devastating flood.

Important points are given above. Other data given in the article is not much important.


The empire strikes back

Had Nawaz Sharif continued as Prime Minister till 2018, he would have created history by becoming the first Prime Minister to have completed a full five-year term in Pakistan’s 70-year history. As it happens, he still created history, though of a different sort.

The Op-Ed is not important from UPSC perspective because it is on internal politics of Pakistan.

[1 August 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Roll-out of GM mustard will be challenged, says SC

The Supreme Court on Monday said a government decision favouring a commercial roll-out of genetically modified (GM) mustard seeds will not go unchallenged.

Important point is given above, no need to go through the complete article if you have basic knowledge of the issue. We will wait for the final judgement.


Chemical from turmeric helps treat cancer in children

Scientists in the U.S. have found yet another use for curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric that is widely used in Indian cuisine, this time to treat cancer in children. Researchers at Nemours Children’s Hospital and the University of Central Florida (UCF) have found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells.

These kinds of studies are not important for UPSC. Unless, study is done by any influential organisation like WTO. Just remember the headline.


SBI cuts savings deposit rate by 50 bps to 3.5%

For the first time since savings account interest rates were deregulated in 2011, State Bank of India has decided to revise the rate downward by 50 basis points to 3.5%, for deposits of less than Rs. 1 crore. Deposits of Rs. 1 crore and above will continue to earn 4%. The new rate has been made effective from Monday.

Important facts are given above. No need to go through the complete article. Just try to figure out the possible effect of this decision on Economy.


Dangerous escalation

Russia’s expulsion of U.S. mission staff could lock the two countries into a retaliatory spiral

The Op-Ed is on World Politics between US and Russia. Not important from UPSC perspective.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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