Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 13 March 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 13 March 2018


2-G case probes given 6 month deadline

  • “The country cannot be kept in the dark,” the Supreme Court said while directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to complete investigation into all 2G spectrum scam cases.
  • This is including the Aircel-Maxis deal case, in six months.
  • “This is a very important case and the country must know the results, whatever may be the decision. Why is this investigation taking too long? What are the reasons for delay. Is anybody behind the delay,” Justice Arun Mishra, heading a Bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha, asked Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal.
  • The court noted that the case had come before this Bench after a gap of four years and ordered the agencies to file a status report in two weeks.
  • “We want all answers to the questions raised by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in his report [on the 2G spectrum scam cases],” Justice Mishra said firmly.
  • The two agencies have been investigating Aircel/Maxis telecom owner and Malaysian accused T. Ananda Krishnan and Ralph Marshall.
  • The investigators are also examining allegations that former Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, ignored Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) regulations by clearing the foreign investment proposal in 2006 for a Mauritius company to acquire 73.99% equity in M/s Aircel Ltd, a telecom service provider.
  • BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, a party to the Supreme Court litigation, had alleged that the investment was worth about Rs. 3,500 crore or $800 million.
  • Mr. Chidambaram had granted the FIPB approval without getting clearance from the Prime Minister-led Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs (CCEA).

6month road plan to address agrarian distress

  • The Maharashtra government offered a six-month road map to address agrarian distress, bowing to the demands of aggrieved farmers.
  • Fifteen thousand farmers and tribal people, led by the All India Kisan Sabha, had marched nearly 200 km to the State capital, before assembling less than two km from the VidhanBhawan.
  • The people from the villages marching to South Mumbai’s Azad Maidan in the early hours of Monday to avoid inconveniencing the average Mumbaikar received a warm reception from their urban peers.
  • By late evening, the plan to gherao the Assembly was dropped.
  • After hectic parleys between their representatives and government emissaries led to a firm assurance on their demands, several farmers were on their way home on special trains.
  • “We have agreed to all of their demands and have given them an assurance in writing to resolve them in six months,” Chief Minister DevendraFadnavis announced at 6.00 p.m. after a marathon round of negotiations with eight farmer representatives.
  • Mr. Fadnavis had found his party BJP isolated, with Opposition parties as well as ally Shiv Sena rallying behind the farmers.
  • An unconditional loan waiver programme to include categories of farmers earlier excluded, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report which includes a higher compensation for land acquisition, a Rs. 50,000 compense for farmers affected by natural calamities are the demands conceded.
  • Giving land to those who have received title area lesser than their eligibility and a sensitive approach to land acquisition for the bullet train and property corridor projects – were also agreed upon.
  • The State government also committed to implement the Forest Rights Act of 2006, including settling of all claims of ownership to the landless tribals.

French built 75GW solar power plant inaugurated by PM

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi took French President Emmanuel Macron on a boat ride on the Ganga.
  • The two leaders and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath rode on a decorated boat from AssiGhat to DashashwamedhGhat in Varanasi.
  • Earlier, Mr. Modi inaugurated a 75-MW solar power plant in neighbouringMirzapur district. He was accompanied by Mr. Macron.
  • A State government spokesperson said the power plant, spread over 382 acres and built by the French company ENGIE, would provide electricity to 1.5 lakh homes.
  • At a public meeting later in Varanasi, Mr. Modi said India was playing a “major role in solar power at the global level”.
  • He said his aim was to see rooftop solar panels being used for “clean cooking” that was cost-effective and environment-friendly.
  • He appealed to the IITs to find innovative technology to cook using solar power efficiently.
  • Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, however, said the foundation for the plant was laid during his tenure and the BJP was once again taking undue credit for a project started by his party.
  • He said the project was set in motion in April 2016 after a Rs. 650-crore investment by the French company during his term as Chief Minister.
  • Mr. Modi also flagged off a new train from Varanasi to Patna, the Kashi-Patna Janshatabdi Express.

Arm import from U.S up b 550% : Report

  • The U.S. recorded a blazing growth in its arms exports to India, recording over 550% growth in 2013-17 compared with the previous five years.
  • As a result, the U.S. has become India’s second largest supplier.
  • In contrast, Pakistan’s imports from the U.S. dropped by 76% in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12, while it emerged as the largest recipient of Chinese arms exports, according to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
  • Russia continued to be India’s largest arms supplier, accounting for 62% of India’s arms imports between 2013 and 2017.
  • “India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2013-17 and accounted for 12% of the global total. Its imports increased by 24% between 2008-12 and 2013-17,” SIPRI, which monitors global arms transfers, said in the report.
  • “The tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India’s growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself,” said SiemonWezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI arms and military expenditure programme.
  • While India continues to depend on imports for its arms requirements, China’s arms imports fell by 19 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.
  • While it was the world’s fifth largest arms importer in 2013-17, China has also emerged as the fifth largest arms exporter, with exports rising by 38% between 2008-12 and 2013-17.
  • A majority of these weapons have been procured by countries in India’s neighbourhood.

Plea on Lawmakers-Lawyers admitted by SC

  • A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to respond by April 23, the next date of hearing.
  • The writ petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said legislators donning the lawyers’ robes was a “matter of serious concern to both the judiciary and the legislature”.
  • The petition said the practice was in violation of Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Act, which forbade an advocate to be “full-time salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practice”.
  • The lawmakers draw their salaries and pensions from the exchequer.
  • The petition was filed by Mr. Upadhyay, represented by V. Shekhar, after his plea before the BCI was stalled.
  • Mr. Upadhyay has contended that MPs and MLAs drew their salaries from the Consolidated Fund of India, and hence were “employees of the State”.
  • Under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 2(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, MLAs and MPs were public servants.
  • Hence, allowing them to practice as an advocate and restricting other public servants was arbitrary, irrational and violation of Articles 14-15 of the Constitution, Mr. Upadhyay said.
  • He said it amounted to “professional misconduct” that MLAs and MPs who got salary and other benefits from the public fund, appeared against the government.

Produce data on child sex abuses: SC

  • As an eight-month-old rape survivor from Delhi battles for her life at the AIIMS, the Supreme Court ordered a nationwide inquiry into how many child sex abusers had actually been punished.
  • A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, ordered data from the High Courts on the number of pending cases of child abuse booked under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
  • Public interest litigation petitioner and advocate AlokAlakhShrivastava said there was a 95% pendency rate, as per the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Chief Justice Misra said the court wanted fresh and independent data collected by a team constituted under the supervision of the Chief Justices of the High Courts.
  • The Bench said it wanted to know the status so as to set a deadline for the completion of trials in special courts.
  • The court gave the High Courts four weeks to submit the data to the Supreme Court Registry.
  • Though Mr. Srivastava urged the court to prescribe the noose for child abusers, rapists and paedophiles, the Centre in February said: “The death penalty is not the answer for everything.”
  • The case concerns the sexual assault of the child in the national capital. The child was shifted to the AIIMS for intensive care under the court’s January 31 order.

Defence deal S-400 to be finalized this month

  • India and Russia could be just weeks away from signing one of the biggest defence deals between the two sides in recent history, said two senior defence sources this week.
  • The contract negotiations for the purchase of the S-400 Triumf long range air defence systems are in the final stages, and are expected to be closed by March 31.
  • India is planning to buy five systems that is expected to cost about Rs. 39,000 crore and is considered one of the most potent Surface to Air missile systems in the world.
  • It can track and shoot down a range of incoming airborne targets at ranges of upto 400km.
  • “We expect to conclude the S-400 contract within this financial year,” a defence source said.
  • In 2016, the two countries had concluded the Inter-Governmental Agreements for five S-400 systems and four stealth frigates after which the contract negotiations began to conclude a commercial contract.
  • Officials termed the negotiations as “very complex” as there were thousands of pages of documentation to be discussed. Russia has already conveyed to India that the deal should not have any offset clause as it is a strategic system.

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Nepal plane crash, Confusion in cockpit a possibility

  • Confusion within the cockpit of the U.S.-Bangla Airline plane may have been the primary cause of accident.
  • It took the lives of dozens and will clearly make an impact on the tourism sector of a country that is gradually emerging from political turmoil.
  • The Canada-made Bombardier aircraft crashed within the perimeter of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu valley on Monday afternoon at 2.18 p.m. Nepal Standard Time (NST).
  • The weather over the valley was cloudy but calm, with winds blowing at six knots per hour from the north as the flight approached Kathmandu from Dhaka.
  • As the aircraft descended into the valley and approached the airport’s single north-south runway, the conversation between the Air Traffic Control and the cockpit was available as recorded on
  • Listening in to the final four minutes of the tape indicates possible confusion in the mind of the Bombardier pilot about ‘02’ and ‘20’, the southern and northern ends of the TIA runway.
  • The earlier part of the descent seems to have been handled by a woman pilot in the cockpit, while closer to landing, the communications were taken over by a male pilot.
  • There seems to already have been some concern about the latter pilot’s understanding of the approach procedures, from before the tape segment.
  • One pilot is heard telling: “You should use radar to get him out of harm’s way. The visibility in the surrounding hills is not good.”
  • There is silence for a while, then a ‘Fire One Station’ calls the ATC, indicating that a crash has occurred and the airport fire tender is active. A pilot comes on to ask if the runway is closed, and the ATC confirms, “Runway closed.”
  • The initial outsider’s hypothesis on the air crash was that the aircraft must have skidded off the runway upon landing, and met its fiery end.
  • However, the aircraft had landed up somewhat down the airfield, by which time the plane would have decelerated.
  • The state of the wreckage, on the other hand, indicated a hard crash.
  • That something even more untoward had happened came to light with the eyewitness report of ArnicoPanday, a climate scientist with a locally based international organisation.
  • Mr. Panday reported that he had seen the aircraft flying an angle to the runway and then make a sharp turn over the airport.
  • The Bombardier had missed the control tower and several parked and taxiing jets and turboprops, and ploughed into earth on the eastern side of the airfield.
  • While a crash investigation report is awaited from the investigation commission set up by the government, it can be said from the tape archive and the eyewitness account that the Bombardier aircraft was doing an unexpected manoeuvre flying that low over the international airport.

UN official to Sri Lanka

  • A top UN official visiting Sri Lanka has condemned the recent anti-Muslim attacks in the country, pointing to a “breakdown in law and order”.
  • Concluding his three-day visit on Sunday, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman urged the government to bring the perpetrators of the violence and hate speech to justice, to take measures to prevent a recurrence, and to enforce rule of law in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Last week, Sri Lanka witnessed violent attacks targeting the Muslim minority in Kandy, located in the central highlands.
  • The violence claimed at least two lives, injured dozens of people and caused serious damage to Muslim-owned property. On March 6, President Maithripala Sirisena declared a state of emergency to quell the spiralling violence.
  • Authorities also banned social media networks, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber, to prevent escalation in tensions. The move has drawn severe criticism from users.
  • While Mr. Feltman’s visit came as part of the UN’s ongoing engagement with Sri Lanka, it coincides with the prevailing turbulence following the anti-Muslim attacks in the island.
  • On Sunday, Muslim political leaders held discussions with Mr. Feltman in Colombo, and expressed concern over the recent violent episodes, a statement from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress said.
  • “The UN official said that such incidents would affect efforts towards ethnic reconciliation in the country,” it said.
  • The UN official earlier met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghe, Tamil leaders and members of Sri Lanka’s civil society and human rights activists.


Import levy on Solar parts a cause of concern: EIB

  • European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer cautioned India against slapping import and safeguard duties on solar components, saying the country’s best interests still remained in multilateralism and free trade.
  • “There might be a situation for these kinds of retaliations (import duties) and it could be very tempting to try, but I think the basic idea is simply wrong,” Mr. Hoyer said in an interview.
  • “What we have learnt from the great economists 200 years ago still holds true — this leads us into lose-lose situations.
  • In January this year, the Directorate General of Safeguards had recommended the implementation of a 70% safeguard duty on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for a period of 200 days.
  • The government had not taken a decision on this yet, but the issue had come under considerable debate in the domestic solar sector.
  • “Over the last 10 years, Europe has lost ground in terms of R&D and innovation by at least 1% of GDP per year in comparison to East Asia, South East Asia and North America,” he said.

9% rise likely in passenger vehicles in FY18

  • The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said the passenger vehicle segment should be able to achieve 9% growth during the current fiscal while the expansion in other segments should be better than expected.
  • “All segments, including passenger vehicles and two-wheelers have been showing growth,” said SIAM director general Vinod Mathur. “The only exception is heavy buses, which is a major concern for us.”
  • The comments come in the backdrop of passenger vehicle sales growing at 7.7% in February.
  • Sales of domestic passenger vehicles (PVs), which include cars, utility vehicles and vans, grew to more than 2.75 lakh units in February from 2.55 lakh units in the year-earlier period.
  • He, however, added that the increase in customs duty on imports could impact those passenger vehicles which had high level of imported components and conversely, the decrease in duty is expected to charge up sales in high-powered two-wheelers.
  • “2017-18 is expected to end up as a record year for the sector.” Total two-wheeler sales in February rose 23.77% to more than 16.85 lakh units.
  • While motorcycle sales rose 26.48% to more than 10.53 lakh units, sales of scooters grew 23.96% to more than 5.60 lakh units.

Industrial activity rises to 7.5%

  • Industrial activity accelerated in January to 7.5% on the back of strong manufacturing growth and a rebound in the consumer durables sector, according to official data released.
  • Retail inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), eased to 4.4% in February, following two months of figures above 5%.
  • Growth in the Index of Industrial Production quickened to 7.5% in January from 7.07% in December.
  • The manufacturing sector saw growth quickening marginally to 8.7% in January from 8.4% in the previous month.
  • Electricity also saw growth accelerating to 7.6% from 4.43% in December.
  • Primary goods saw growth accelerating to 5.8% in January from 3.73% in December.
  • The capital goods sector continued to witness strong growth of 14.6% in January, although this was lower than the 16.44% seen in the previous month.
  • Growth in infrastructure and construction quickened slightly to 6.8% in January from 6.68% in the previous month.
  • The consumer durables sector saw growth accelerating sharply to 8% from 0.86% over the same period.
  • “The only concern is that the Purchasing Managers’ Index data for February showed a weakening so one has to wait and watch,” Mr. Srivastava said.
  • Inflation as measured by the CPI slowed to 4.44% in February from 5.07% in January, mostly due to easing food and fuel prices.
  • Inflation in the food and beverages segment slowed to 3.38% in February from 4.58% in the previous month.
  • Similarly, inflation in the fuel and light segment slowed to 6.8% from 7.73% over the same period.

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