Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 29 December 2017

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 29 December 2017

::National::

Historical triple talaq bill passed by lower house

  • Amidst protests from a few political parties, including those close to the BJP, the Lok Sabha passed by voice vote the Bill that makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years.
  • The proposed law would be applicable to the entire country, except in Jammu and Kashmir. It would make instant talaq punishable and would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence.
  • Calling it a historic step, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Bill — The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 — will act as a deterrent since there have been 100 cases of triple talaq even after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in August this year.
  • He said that while 22 Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, had regulated instant triple talaq, there was no effective law in India.
  • The Minister turned down demands from the Leader of the Congress Mallikarjun Kharge to refer the Bill to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
  • Members from the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the CPI(M), the Samajwadi Party, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen and the All India Muslim League, as also parties considered close to the BJP, such as the Biju Janata Dal and the AIADMK, opposed the Bill, saying it was arbitrary and a faulty proposal being passed in haste.
  • Not having BJD and AIADMK on board will impact the bill's smooth passage in the Rajya Sabha as the Opposition has more numbers than the NDA.
  • Sushmita Dev, articulating the Congress’s support for the Bill, also raised key questions such as who would pay the subsistence allowance mentioned in the Bill to the wife if the husband was sent to jail. Ms. Dev asked the Law Minister if the government would create a corpus to help the victims.
  • Speaking on behalf of her party, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi made an impassioned appeal in support of the Bill and attacked the Congress by reminding the party that it had opposed the Shah Bano judgement of the Supreme Court in 1986.
  • Despite being second largest opposition party in Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress members didn’t take part in the debate despite being present.

India outpacing world in milk production

  • Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said during the past three years, India has outpaced the global milk production with an annual growth rate of 5.53% compared with the 2.09% achieved globally.
  • Speaking at the Consultative Committee meeting on Dairy Development held in New Delhi, Mr. Singh said India has been the largest producer of milk in the world for the past 15 years.
  • 163.7 million tonnes
  • “Milk production, which was around 17-22 million tonnes in the 1960s, has increased to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17. Particularly, it has increased by 19% during 2016-17 in comparison to the year 2013-14.
  • Similarly, per capita availability of milk has increased from 307 grams in 2013-14 to 351 grams in the year 2016-17. Similarly, the income of dairy farmers increased by 23.77% in 2014-17 compared to 2011-14,” he said.
  • Mr. Singh said the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF) has initiated a number of schemes with the objective of doubling the dairy farmers’ income.
  • “In this direction, dairy farmers’ income is being raised in two ways – one by raising milk production and productivity and by increasing the price of raw milk per kg,” he added.
  • He said to meet future challenges, it is necessary to gradually shift towards a technology-driven environment.
  • “To achieve the same, DAHDF is working on a National Action Plan Vision 2022, where along with enhancing the outreach of dairy cooperatives to additional villages and milk producers, suitable provisions are being made to build additional milk processing infrastructure for processing additional volume of milk expected on account of higher milk production and meeting the increased demand for value-added products,” he said.

Govt gets support of all parties on Kulbhushan Jadhav issue

  • MPs, cutting across party lines voiced full support for the Union government on the issue of the treatment meted out by Pakistan to the mother and wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer on death row in Pakistan on espionage charge.
  • The support followed identical statements made by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in both Houses. The Minister accused Pakistan of turning an emotional moment into “an instrument to further its propaganda”.
  • Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan J.P. Singh, who accompanied the two women for the meeting, was present in Parliament. Ms. Swaraj said there was “serious and gross violation of human rights of the family members of Jadhav”.
  • She pointed out that Mr. Jadhav’s mother and wife were forced to remove theirmangalsutra , bindi and bangles and footwear, and even made to change their attire on the pretext of security.
  • Mr. Jadhav’s mother and wife met him inside the Pakistan Foreign Office building in Islamabad under unusual circumstances — he was separated from the two women by a glass screen, and they conversed through an intercom.
  • Referring to Ms. Chetna’s footwear being confiscated, Ms. Swaraj said Pakistani authorities were now talking of a chip, camera or a recorder being installed in the shoes.
  • This is “absurdity beyond measure”, as the two women had cleared security at airports in India, Dubai and Pakistan when nothing suspicious was detected, she said.
  • Pakistan claims that Mr. Jadhav, an ex-Indian Navy officer, was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016 with a fake passport, a charge denied by India, which says he was kidnapped from Iran where he has legitimate business.

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::Business and Economy::

Norms related to credit rating agencies and mutual funds tightened by SEBI

  • SEBI has tightened the norms for credit rating agencies and mutual funds (MFs) to reduce instances of conflict of interest. It also allowed complete integration of stock and commodity exchanges to enable both asset classes to be available for trading on a single platform.
  • The SEBI board, increased the net worth requirement for rating agencies to Rs. 25 crore from the current Rs. 5 crore. It also decided that the promoter entity would have to maintain at least 25% stake in the rating agency for a period of three years.
  • CRAs have also been barred from holding more than 10% in a peer rating agency. SEBI also said that CRAs would have to segregate their non-core activities into a separate legal entity to avoid any conflict of interest.
  • In the case of MFs, SEBI said a sponsor of a particular MF cannot hold more than 10% in any other MF entity. This assumes significance especially for UTI Mutual Fund, which has State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, LIC and Punjab National Bank as shareholders. All the four entities have their own respective asset management companies.
  • While the SEBI statement said that “any existing non-conformity with the aforesaid requirements may be aligned within a reasonable time”, SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi said such entities would be given a year to resolve shareholding issues.

Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will see increasing use in India

  • Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies will see increasing use in India, according to industry players, who say that, right now, the sector is too small to be regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or Finance Ministry.
  • Bitcoin companies also say that volatility in the cryptocurrency’s price is likely to continue since it is still attracting new investors with inadequate knowledge about the market, with speculation separately fuelling the price gyrations.
  • Some countries have legalised cryptocurrencies like Japan and Korea, and in the U.S. they have announced that there will be bitcoin futures trading. So, this not only gives a legal standing to it, it also opens the door to speculation.
  • The second thing is that people are seeing others put in Rs. 1 lakh and making 10% the very next day, so that is also bringing a lot of laymen into this, which may or may not be a good thing.
  • Another reason for the price volatility, something that will continue for some time, is the disaggregated nature of the bitcoin market.
  • While the RBI has cautioned against its use, informing users, holders, investors and traders dealing with virtual currencies that they are doing so at their own risk, SEBI Chairman said the cryptocurrency had so far not posed any systemic risk. He added that the government had formed a panel to examine it.
  • Regulators, both domestic and global, have been closely watching the swift surge in the price of the virtual currency.
  • Looking ahead, Mr. Gaurav said any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies ought to first look at the exchanges, as that is where the transactions are taking place.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy bill tabled in Lok sabha

  • The government has introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Lok Sabha.
  • The Bill, introduced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, aims, among other things, to prohibit wilful defaulters and those associated with non-performing assets (NPAs) from regaining control of the defaulting company / stressed assets through the backdoor in the garb of a ‘resolution applicant’.
  • The Bill seeks to repeal and replace the IBC (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 as well as proposes to make certain modifications to the Ordinance (that was promulgated by the President Ram Nath Kovind last month).

::Science and Tech::

Dubbed a paradise on earth, the Indonesian island has become an embarrassing poster child

  • Bali’s palm-fringed Kuta beach has long been a favourite with tourists seeking sun and surf, but nowadays its golden shoreline is disappearing under a mountain of garbage.
  • Plastic straws and food packaging are strewn between sunbathers, while surfers bobbing behind the waves dodge waste flushed out from rivers or brought in by swirling currents.
  • Often dubbed a paradise on earth, the Indonesian holiday island has become an embarrassing poster child for the country’s trash problem.
  • The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is the world’s second biggest contributor to marine debris after China, and a colossal 1.29 million metric tons is estimated to be produced annually by Indonesia.
  • The waves of plastic flooding into rivers and oceans have been causing problems for years — clogging waterways in cities, increasing the risk of floods, and injuring or killing marine animals who ingest or become trapped by plastic packaging.
  • The problem has grown so bad that officials in Bali last month declared a “garbage emergency” across a six-kilometre stretch of coast that included popular beaches Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak.
  • Officials deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tons of debris each day to a nearby landfill.
  • Bali’s rubbish problem is at its worst during the annual monsoon season, when strong winds push marine flotsam onto the beach and swollen rivers wash rubbish from riverbanks to the coast.
  • Indonesia is one of nearly 40 countries that are part of U.N. Environment’s Clean Seas campaign, which aims to halt the tide of plastic trash polluting the oceans.
  • As part of its commitment, the government has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70% by 2025. It plans to boost recycling services, curb the use of plastic bags, launch clean-up campaigns and raise public awareness.
  • Still, the scale of the problem facing Indonesia is huge, due to its population of more than 250 million and poor waste processing infrastructure.

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