Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 29 January 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 29 January 2018

::NATIONAL::

1. India will progress if women walk shoulder-to-shoulder with men : Modi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged the “pioneering role” of Indian women in establishing “milestones” in the country’s progress.
  • He said so in his first Mann Ki Baatradio broadcast for this year.
  • If India has to progress and reach new heights, it can only be possible if and when women walk shoulder-to-shoulder with men, and in fact lead the way.
  • He added that it was in India’s culture to respect the girl child.
  • Quoting verses from the Skanda Purana, he said that one girl child was equal to 10 male children.
  • “We also have had Vidushis or knowledgeable women like Lopamudra, Gargi and Maitreyee,” he said.
  • Mentioned the contributions of the late astronaut Kalpana Chawla, that efforts by the government through the programme “Betibachao, BetiPadhao” was aimed at harnessing the power of women for transformational change.
  • In a nod to new ally, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, he lauded the human chain initiated in the State last week to protest against social evils such as child marriage and dowry harassment.
  • Mr. Modi said he wished to show appreciation for the women of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.
  • “This is a Maoist-affected area, but the women there are operating e-rickshaws. This is creating opportunities, it is also changing the face of the region and is also environment friendly,” he said.
  • On Republic Day, an all-woman contingent of the Border Security Force dazzled spectators with their daring bike stunts.
  • The all-women daredevil bikers squad, Seema Bhawani, was raised in 2016, on the lines of their much-acclaimed male counterparts, he said.
  • He reminded people of the change in the nomination of the Padma awardees, freeing it from opaque procedures to make it easier for anyone to nominate unknown people doing extraordinary things for society.

2. Rich among SC/ST snatching away benefits : Plea to exclude creamy layer

  • The Supreme Court will hear a petition to exclude the affluent members, or the creamy layer, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the benefits of reservation.
  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will hear the petition.
  • It argues that the rich among the SCs/STs are “snatching away” the benefits, while the deserving and impoverished continue to “bite the dust.”
  • It is this lack of percolation of benefits to the poor and really backward among these communities that has led to social unrest, Naxalite movements and perennial poverty, it says.
  • This is the first time a petition has been filed, urging the Supreme Court to introduce the creamy layer concept for the SCs/STs.
  • In 1992, a nine-judge Bench of the court in the Indra Sawhney case, or the Mandal case as it was popularly known, upheld the caste-based reservation for the OBCs as valid.
  • The court also said the creamy layer of the OBCs (those earning a specified income) should not get the benefits of reservation.
  • The ruling, however, confined the exclusion of the creamy layer to the OBCs and not the SCs/STs.
  • Now, the petition filed by SamtaAndolan Samiti, which represents the poor strata of the SCs/STs in Rajasthan, wants the creamy layer of the SCs/STs excluded from the benefits.
  • The petition, means test [a scrutiny of the value of assets of an individual claiming reservation] should be taken into consideration to exclude the creamy layer from the group earmarked for reservation.
  • The uplifted/affluent and advanced sections of the SCs/STs snatch away the maximum benefit and the 95% members of these communities are at a disadvantage.
  • The affluent among the SCs/STs are siphoning off the reservation benefits given to them by the State government as well as the Central government... The benefits of the reservation policy are not percolating down to the people who are in actual need of them.
  • This lack of percolation of quota benefits to the poorest of the poor ensures that the “weak always remains the weak and the fortunate layers consume the whole cake.”
  • The petition argues that no class or caste remained homogeneously backward across time.
  • Only the backward portion of castes included in the list of SCs/STs alone are constitutionally entitled to the benefits of reservation.

3. Ex-CM is class in itself, should enjoy benefits : U.P Govt to SC

  • The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has told the Supreme Court that the State’s former Chief Ministers are considered a privileged class.
  • They deserve to enjoy certain benefits even after demitting office.
  • The Supreme Court is examining laws enacted by the U.P. Assembly which allow former CMs and Ministers to retain official bungalows and staff at public expense.
  • In written submissions filed in the apex court, the U.P. government said a “former Chief Minister” is a “class in itself”.
  • As the holder of such high posts in a democratic nation as ours, it becomes imperative that even after demitting offices certain privileges are provided to such persons.
  • The holders of other high constitutional posts have been classified as a separate class even after demitting offices, like former Chief Justices and judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court, President, Prime Minster.
  • The submissions came on a petition filed by NGO Lok Prahari, challenging the constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act of 2016 and The Allotment of Houses under Control of the Estate Department of 2016.
  • The NGO has sought action against State authorities for acting in contempt of a Supreme Court verdict in August 2016, directing them to ensure that the former Chief Ministers vacate the bungalows.
  • In the previous hearing before a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium submitted that it is a violation of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution to allow former Chief Ministers to retain their official bungalows indefinitely.
  • Once they demit office, they are just ordinary citizens ineligible for special privileges.
  • S.N. Shukla, for the NGO, submitted that the Supreme Court should intervene or else the practice would extend to other States.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

1. Attempted coup by southern separatists : Yemen Govt

  • Yemen’s government accused southern separatists of an attempted coup after they took over its headquarters amid fierce clashes in the city of Aden.
  • The fighting, which killed at least 15 people, threw Yemen into further chaos and threatened to undermine President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who ordered his forces to stand down.
  • The government urged the Saudi-led military coalition, which has been supporting Mr. Hadi against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in control of much of the north, to intervene.
  • “A coup is ongoing here in Aden against legitimacy and the country’s unity,” said Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher.
  • Security sources said that pro-separatist units trained and backed by the UAE had taken over the government headquarters in Aden after clashes.

::ECONOMY::

1. IBC : issues in the implementation

  • The insolvency law might be amended depending on recommendations of the panel reviewing issues related to the legislation.
  • Includes those pertaining to homebuyers.
  • While everything is time-bound under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the issue is how the interests of stakeholders are to be balanced.
  • A 14-member panel, also chaired by Mr. Srinivas, is working to identify and suggest ways to address issues faced in the implementation of the IBC.
  • The IBC came into force in December 2016.
  • The committee is looking at all the issues.
  • Competition, regulatory clearances, tax liabilities and other aspects would also be looked at, he said.
  • “It was felt that there was enough reason to have a comprehensive stock taking even though it is a one-year old law... Based on recommendations of the Insolvency Law Committee, in the future there may be changes in the IBC,” Mr. Srinivas said.
  • A large number of cases have been filed under the IBC, which provides for a market-determined and time-bound insolvency resolution process.
  • Among others, issues such as whether the insolvency process should be governed by liquidation value or enterprise value would also be looked into.
  • In recent months, there have been concerns about incomplete realty projects and consequent hardships faced by home buyers.
  • Some real estate firms are also facing insolvency proceedings.
  • There have also been suggestions from certain quarters about having provisions that would help provide relief to home buyers.

2. Textile sector awaiting Stimulus package

  • A couple of major issues have impacted the country’s textile and clothing sector in the past year.
  • Expectedly, the industry’s aspirations for the Union Budget are related to the revival of exports and the GST.
  • According to data, readymade garment exports grew less than 1% between April and November 2016 in dollar terms and dropped 3.03 % in rupee terms.
  • In terms of volume, yarn exports stayed almost flat.
  • Apparel exports dropped 8% in December alone compared with a year earlier.
  • For the last three years, exports have almost stagnated. Countries such as Vietnam have overtaken India in yarn exports to China.
  • When the global economic slowdown hit the industry seven years ago, the Centre had come out with a time-bound stimulus package.
  • The two major policy decisions of the government in the recent past, demonestisation and GST.
  • They have impacted the industry more than the economic slowdown.
  • A stimulus package will give relief to the units,said Sanjay K. Jain, chairman, CITI. Rebate of State levies (ROSL) is critical for revival of exports.
  • Towards this, the government should sanction adequate funds for ROSL and extend it to all products instead of just garments and made-ups.
  • India exports garments and made-ups worth $23 billion annually.
  • The average tax rate after GST for garments and made-ups is 1.8%; it was 3.7% before GST.
  • The Apparel Export Promotion Council has said that under schemes such as Advance Authorisation and EPCG, applicants should get early approvals. This will lead to higher investments.
  • Officials in the ministry said thrust areas now were to be powerlooms, technology and export promotion.

3. FTA hurts India’s 3 key sectors : Book

  • If India were to join the mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and adopt its norms, they would severely hurt the country.
  • Key sectors are agriculture, manufacturing, services and the generic pharma industry, according to a new book.
  • Titled “Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: A framework for future trade rules?” the book.
  • Released on January 27, the book comes in the backdrop of U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement at the World Economic Forum that he was open to the pact provided it offered substantially benefits for his country.
  • It was under his orders that the U.S. had withdrawn from the TPP early last year.
  • The other 11 countries (Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Vietnam) that were part of the agreement are now expected to ink an amended version in March.
  • According to the book, if India were to conform to the TPP template of rules on market access in goods, it would pose severe challenges to India’s manufacturing sector.

4. One GST rate for Multi-modal transportation : Urges Commerce Min.

  • The Commerce Ministry has pitched for a single Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate for multimodal transportation of vehicles.
  • Helps improve logistic services and reduce the compliance burden on automobile manufacturers.
  • Multimodal transportation includes a combination of more than one mode of movement, such as rail, road or sea, for end-to-end delivery of goods.
  • Automobile industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) had approached the logistics department of the Ministry raising issues faced by companies due to lack of a clearly defined multimodal GST structure.
  • Currently, manufacturers and their logistics service providers have to deal with the issue of variable GST rates, applicable on various sectors.
  • They had stated that currently there was no clearly defined multimodal GST structure.
  • Vehicle makers wants to hand over finished goods through a single document to a third-party logistics service provider.
  • The government official said that the current structure was leading to complexity in the entire taxation system, often leading to inefficiencies.
  • SIAM had also pointed out that in the multimodal movement of goods.
  • The present GST law was subjective and was left to the interpretation of consultants to provide a better understanding of applicable tax rates.

5. All EVs by 2030 needs a substantial push to meet target

  • Achieving the target of all-electric vehicles by 2030 will need a substantial push from the government and the private sector.
  • Key areas of setting up the charging infrastructure, enabling cheaper availability of raw materials and incentivising mid-way measures such as hybrid vehicles.
  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a government firm, has put in motion plans to procure 10,000 e-vehicles.
  • EESL aims to lease these vehicles out to government departments so as to replace their existing fleets of petrol and diesel vehicles.
  • The Government also notified the scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME), as a part of its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020.
  • The scheme has four focus areas: technology development, pilot project, charging infrastructure and demand creation.
  • The scheme has been extended till March 31, 2018.
  • There are several initiatives, by both the government and the private sector, to enhance the required charging infrastructure.
  • The Centre has begun pilot projects in this regard, having already installed 25 charging stations in Bengaluru, and planning to expand this to other metros.
  • The fact that the government has also made a distinction between EVs and hybrid vehicles under the GST regime is seen as a problem.
  • While EVs are to be taxed at 12%, hybrid vehicles are taxed at 28% plus a 15% cess.
  • The view among carmakers is that people are still sceptical about the shift to all-electric vehicles since they fear the charge duration of the batteries.
  • As such, they are more likely to try hybrid vehicles, but that sector is not being encouraged by the current tax structure. The other issue has to do with the charging stations themselves.
  • While sector specialists said that EVs can be charged at home using AC power, this would take about 5-8 hours for a full charge.
  • DC chargers, on the other hand, can do the same in a fraction of the time.
  • Most of the chargers being installed across the country, however, are AC chargers.

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