Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 26 December 2017

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 26 December 2017

::National::

Jadhav meets family in Islamabad

  • The wife and the mother of alleged Indian spy KulbushanJadhav met him for 40 minutes at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, while Deputy Indian High Commissioner and Pakistani officials listened in on the conversation outside.
  • Mr. Jadhav and the family members spoke in a highly secured room, from either side of a glass partition.
  • Pakistani officials said the presence of Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh could not be taken as provision of consular access. Mr. Singh, who accompanied the visitors, was not allowed to speak.
  • At the briefing, Dr. Faisal repeated the charges against Mr. Jadhav, facing the death sentence for alleged espionage and sabotage. India has denied the charges, saying Mr. Jadhav was a former naval officer, pursuing business interests in Tehran from where he was abducted by Pakistani officials.
  • Dr. Faisal said Commander Jadhav, whom he described as an ‘Indian spy, a terrorist and a saboteur,’ was a serving Indian naval officer sentenced to death for his involvement in ‘espionage, terrorism and subversive activities’ against Pakistan.
  • Mr. Jadhav’s family had a brief stop at the mission again before they headed to the airport to catch a flight to India.
  • They left Pakistan for Muscat by an Oman Airlines flight at 1944 hours (local time), said officials at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
  • Dr. Faisal said the meeting was positive and the two sides talked thoroughly. “It is not the last meeting. It should be categorically registered,” he added.
  • A video of Mr. Jadhav played during the press conference was recorded before his meeting with his family, officials said. “I requested a meeting with my wife and mother and I am thankful to the Government of Pakistan for this gesture,” Mr. Jadhav said in the brief video message.
  • He also stated that he was tasked by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Indian intelligence agency, to plan, coordinate and organise espionage, terrorism and sabotage aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan.
  • He made every effort to impede the efforts of the Law Enforcement Agencies and was eventually caught red-handed.” During his trial at the Field General Court Martial, he was provided a defending officer as per the law of the land,” the spokesman said.

New govt will sworn in Gujrat

  • The new BJP government led by Vijay Rupani will take the oath of office and secrecy at a grand ceremony in the State capital of Gandhinagar.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, senior party leaders and the Chief Ministers of the States ruled by the National Democratic Alliance, besides saints and religious leaders of various sects and faiths, will attend the function to be held at the new Secretariat complex.
  • The BJP Legislature Party elected Mr. Rupani and Mr. Nitin Patel after party observers ArunJaitley and Saroj Pandey named them at a meeting with top leaders and elected representatives.
  • The Cabinet is likely to have new members because six Ministers and Speaker RamanlalVora lost the polls. However, those who won the polls are expected to make it to the Ministry again.
  • The Ministers who lost are ChimanbhaiSaparia (Energy and Agriculture), AtmaramParmar (Social Justice, Women and Child Development) and Shankar Chaudhary (Health), besides two junior Ministers.
  • In the recently held Assembly polls, the ruling party won for the sixth consecutive time but its tally came down to 99, its lowest since 1995 when the party stormed into power in the State for the first time.

Five-day Teesta Rangit Tourism Festival, 2017

  • Darjeeling, recuperating from the 104-day strike, will host a five-day Teesta Rangit Tourism Festival, 2017.
  • The four-month strike has severely affected tourism, one of the biggest sources of income in the Darjeeling hills. The festival will be held in phases in different hill towns across the two districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
  • It will be held from December 27 to 29 in Darjeeling; December 28 and 29 in Kurseong; December 29 and 30 in Kalimpong; and December 30 and 31 in Mirik.
  • Chairperson of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration BenoyTamang, who was keen on the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the festival, has urged all stakeholders to cooperate and make the festival a grand success.
  • While tourists have started trickling in, the situation was grim until a few weeks ago. Hoteliers and tour operators had put the bookings between 20% and 30%.
  • Christmas and New Year festivities are the peak of tourist season in the Darjeeling Hills and its 400-odd hotels.
  • “Over the past few days tourists have started arriving, but it is nowhere compared to last year’s figures,” a north Bengal-based tour operator said.
  • The toy train services, which was suspended after the violent agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland in June, resumed in the second week of December.

Centre against fixed terms for the police cheifs

  • The Union government has filed an interlocutory application in the Supreme Court to amend a 2006 order of the court that is being used by the States to appoint “favourites” as Directors-General of Police.
  • The Home Ministry moved the court earlier this month to seek clarity on the order that ensures a two-year fixed term for the DGPs.
  • Some States were misusing the order and appointing officers about to retire, giving them a fixed term of two years, irrespective of the superannuation date. The official said the implementation of the order was not monitored effectively.
  • Recently, the Home Ministry wrote a strong letter to the Andhra Pradesh government after the State forwarded a panel of seven officers of the rank of DGP, including three on the verge of retirement.
  • The State had kept the post vacant for months and issued an order on November 24 to appoint N. Sambasiva Rao, an IPS officer of the 1984 batch, who was to retire on December 31. Mr. Rao is likely to hold the post till the 2019 elections.
  • In 2016, the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal issued an order allowing IPS officer SurajitKarPurkayastha to stay in office for two years, though he attained superannuation on December 31.
  • The late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had used the order to appoint Ashok Kumar, an IPS officer of the 1982 batch, as the DGP in November 2014 for a fixed term of two years, though he attained superannuation in June 2015.
  • “The All India Services Act, 1951, bars any officer from remaining in office after retirement, unless cleared by the Centre. The Home Ministry is the cadre-controlling authority for IPS officers, and the Supreme Court order is being increasingly misused by the States to appoint officers close to the regime,” the official said.
  • The court issued the order for a fixed two-year term for the DGPs after Prakash Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, filed a petition on police reforms.

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::International::

UNESCO have recognised the skill of Ecuadorian artisans who make woven hats

  • Cultural authorities at UNESCO have recognised the skill of Ecuadorian artisans who make woven hats.
  • The widely known “Panama hat” is a brimmed hat traditionally made in Ecuador from the straw of the South American toquilla palm plant.
  • The hats are thought to have earned their misleading name because many were sold in nearby Panama to prospectors travelling through that country to California during the Gold Rush.
  • Production of the circular-brimmed hats is still a family affair carried out on a household scale. The industry’s center is La Pintada, a district about 170 km west of Panama City.
  • Artisans of the truly Panamanian pintao hat start with the fibres of several plants that are cured and then woven into braids that are wrapped around a wooden form and sewn together from the crown of the hat down.
  • Several bands of fibre are dyed black with the leaves from a different plant and then stuck in mud for three days. The fibres are woven into fine geometric designs and integrated into the hat giving it its name.
  • “The pintao hat has become an integral part of regional outfits throughout the country worn during traditional dances and community festivities,” the U.N. heritage arm’s statement said.
  • Depending on the quality of the work, some pintao hats can cost hundreds of dollars.

::Business and Economy::

Condonation of delay scheme is expected to come as a relief for disqualified directors

  • Only bona fide directors will benefit from the proposed scheme that will provide a three-month window for defaulting companies to submit their filings.
  • The Condonation of Delay Scheme, which would be rolled out by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, is expected to come as a relief for disqualified directors. It is to be operational from January 1 to March 31, 2018.
  • Corporate Affairs Secretary said that since so many people were affected, the government felt that some resolution was required without compromising the fight against illegal activities.
  • “The scheme is not open for directors of struck-off companies. They can come only when they [those companies] are restored through the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT),” he said.
  • As part of clamping down on illicit fund flows, the corporate affairs ministry has disqualified more than 3.09 lakh directors of companies which failed to submit annual filings for a long time.
  • Following the move, concerns were raised that many directors of genuine companies have also been disqualified. Besides, some individuals moved courts against their disqualification.
  • As per a draft circular, the Director Identification Numbers of disqualified directors that have been deactivated would be ‘temporarily activated’ during the scheme period.
  • After submitting the filings under the scheme, a company concerned would have to file a separate form seeking condonation of the delay along with a fee of Rs. 30,000, it added.

SIAM has suggested reduction of Goods and Services Tax on EVs

  • To promote electric vehicles (EVs) in India, auto industry body SIAM has suggested reduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on such vehicles to 5% besides giving one-time Income Tax (I-T) deduction of 30% of vehicle price for non-financed buyers.
  • In a white paper submitted to the government, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) also mooted exemption from road tax for EVs while stating that a multi-pronged, segment and customer-specific policy will be needed for a successful transition to electric mobility.
  • The policy should collectively aim at improving affordability and acceptance of EVs by bridging viability gap; enabling charging infrastructure build-out; encouraging domestic manufacturing and creating public awareness besides providing other enablers, it said.
  • On specific fiscal measures, SIAM said GST rate for all EVs may be brought down from 12% to 5% and road tax be fully exempted.
    For EV buyers, the paper proposed a “one-time Income Tax deduction of 30% of vehicle price from total taxable income to individual purchasers, who have not availed any bank finance for the purchase“.
  • To determine the cut-off price for such an incentive, a maximum vehicle price of Rs. 25 lakh (the same used to define SUVs as per SIAM classification) may be considered, it added.
  • The paper further said for individuals who had availed bank finance to purchase a personal EV, “Income Tax deduction of up to Rs. 1 lakh on the interest component for loans taken may be given every year during the tenure of the loan, like government’s scheme on home loans“.

PSBs to rationalise branches to strengthen their financials

  • The finance ministry has asked public sector banks to look at rationalising their domestic and overseas branches as part of the reform process to strengthen their financials.
  • The banks have been advised to pursue closure of loss-making domestic and international branches as part of a capital-saving exercise.
  • There was no point in running loss-making branches and placing a burden on the balance sheet, so banks should look at not only big savings but also small savings like these for improving overall efficiency.
  • Many banks, including State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB), have already taken initiative.
  • Besides, Indian Overseas Bank has rationalised the number of regional offices in the country by reducing 10 regional offices from the existing 59, eyeing optimum utilisation of resources and reduction in administrative costs.
  • The Ministry is of the view that there is no need for multiple banks in a single country, sources said, adding that banks can explore a single subsidiary formed with 5-6 banks coming together for conserving capital and realising economies of scale.
  • As part of the rationalisation strategy, PNB is exploring the sale of stake in its U.K. subsidiary, PNB International. Bank of Baroda and SBI are also examining the issue of consolidation.

IBBI is now looking to put in place the regime for individual insolvency

  • Steering the ‘smooth and fast-paced’ journey of the insolvency law, the IBBI is now looking to put in place the regime for individual insolvency in a phased manner.
  • About 500 corporates have been admitted for resolution and about 100 companies have commenced voluntary liquidation under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which is a little more than a year old.
  • As it enters 2018, individual insolvency regime and facilitation of corporate insolvency transactions are among the main priorities for the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.
  • “We are looking forward to implementing a regime for individual insolvency in a phased manner. In the first phase, we would implement the insolvency regime in respect of individuals who are guarantors to corporates undergoing resolution process,” Mr. Sahoo said.

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