Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 31 January 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 31 January 2018


Impeachment process on Allahabad HC Judge: CJI letter to PM

  • Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra recommended the removal of Justice Shri Narayan Shukla, the eighth senior-most judge of the Allahabad High Court.
  • This is following an adverse report about him by an in-house panel. The panel had been set up by the CJI.
  • The CJI has set the process in motion with a letter to the Prime Minister for the impeachment of the judge.
  • When the impeachment motion is moved in Parliament, an investigation is conducted.
  • If the findings of guilt are confirmed, the impeachment motion will be put to vote for the removal of the judge by a majority.
  • The move for a possible impeachment of Justice Shukla began with Allahabad High Chief Justice D.B. Bhosale withdrawing judicial duties from him from January 23.
  • Justice Shukla joined the Allahabad High Court in 2005, and was set to retire on July 17, 2020.
  • His orders in the cases of blacklisted private medical colleges in Lucknow had come under the scanner of the CJI Bench last year.
  • Chief Justice Misra had expressed “shock” at an order passed by a Division Bench led by Justice Shukla on September 1, 2017.
  • Allowed the G.C.R.G. Memorial Trust, based in Lucknow, in defiance of a “graphically clear” restraining direction from the Supreme Court on August 28 to stop admissions for the academic session 2017-18.
  • The Supreme Court noted how Justice Shukla, on September 4, even made some corrections to the September 1 order.
  • On November 23, Chief Justice Misra, in a 14-page judgment, held that the Division Bench, led by Justice Shukla, had abandoned “the concept of judicial propriety” and transgressed judicial rules to “proceed on a path where it was not required to.”

1% Reservation to MBC : Rajasthan Govt.

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan has issued orders for granting 1% reservation to the Most Backward Classes.
  • It comprises Gujjars and four other nomadic communities, within the 50% ceiling mandated by the Supreme Court.
  • The State Cabinet had approved the decision last month and sent it for the Governor's consent.
  • The overall reservation in the State stood at 49% before the decision.
  • Along with Gujjars, nomadic communities Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya were included among the Other Backward Classes for quota in the government jobs and educational institutions.
  • Though Gujjars have been demanding sub-categorisation of OBC quota for extending the benefit to them, the State government has gone ahead with its decision to create MBCs and given it the quota while not exceeding the 50% limit.
  • The State Assembly had on October 26, 2017, passed a Bill creating the “most backward” category within the OBCs for Gujjars and four other nomadic communities and given 5% reservation to them, while increasing the OBC quota from 21% to 26% and taking the overall quota in the State to 54%.
  • A Cabinet sub-committee tasked with finding a solution to the quota issue, have maintained that making a provision for sub-quota within the OBC quota is the “only solution” available in the matter.

Aadhaar Profiling free citizens of state : Petitioners

  • On Martyrs’ Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s public speech against the fingerprinting and profiling of Indians in South Africa was quoted by the petitioners.
  • It is against the Aadhaar scheme as a case of profiling of free citizens by the state.
  • Arguing before a Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the petitioners quoted the Transvaal Ordinance which required Indians to be subjected to fingerprinting if they did not want to face imprisonment or deportation.
  • Senior advocate Shyam Divan and advocate Vipin Nair submitted that they wanted to present a page from history about regressive laws which robbed citizens of their dignity and privacy while “branding them as criminals”.
  • Mr. Divan read out excerpts from Gandhiji’s speech against the Transvaal Ordinance.
  • The certificate was mandatory for Indians to get any service or official work done by any government office.
  • Mr. Divan submitted how Gandhiji found the extraction of fingerprints from free citizens derogatory.
  • He said a concerted move had been witnessed over the past years to make Aadhaar mandatory for accessing essential services.
  • Mr. Divan had earlier submitted how the cancellation of Aadhaar was tantamount to turning off the switch on a person.
  • There should be alternatives to Aadhaar and a person’s existence should not hinge on just one source. He said a situation had now arisen that if a person’s biometrics did not match, he ceased to exist and became a ghost.
  • A nation which functioned on the principle of limited governance should not insist a citizen to base her identity on one source alone.
  • A limited government should not force a citizen to part with biometrics.

HC on Disqualification of MLAs

  • The Delhi High Court asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to present reasons for its decision to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit.
  • A Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Chander Shekhar asked the poll panel to file an affidavit after the ECI said it wanted to respond to some allegations made by the disqualified MLAs.
  • Further hearing on February 7, by when the MLAs have to file their responses to the EC affidavit.
  • The court also extended the interim order restraining the poll panel from issuing any notification announcing byelections to fill the vacancies of the 20 Assembly seats whose legislators have been disqualified.
  • The disqualified legislators have, in their petitions, contended that there was “gross and serious” violation of principle of natural justice.
  • They were not given a hearing before the ECI formed its opinion.
  • They also said the poll panel had proceeded with forming opinion against them despite a case pending at the High Court challenging the same.
  • The AAP government appointed the parliamentary secretaries after coming to power in March 2015.

Notices issued on a plea to Ganga Diversion : NGT

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued notice to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Environment and Forest among other authorities on a plea seeking an adequate flow of water in the Ganga.
  • A bench headed by NGT acting chairperson U.D. Salvi sought replies from the authorities.
  • It includes the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Water Resources and the Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd, before March 8.
  • The directions came when the green panel was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Vikrant Tongad.
  • He sought a direction from the court to ensure a minimum flow in the Ganga to maintain wildlife and river ecology.
  • It was alleged that a “substantial flow” of the Ganga was being diverted at Pashulok Barrage in Dehradun to a side canal for a hydroelectric power plant.
  • The petitioner alleged that due to the diversion, a stretch of the river from the barrage till Motichur in Haridwar had dried up.
  • This in turn was adversely affecting aquatic life and river ecology.


Britain Brexit– 3 Scenarios, all worse-off : Leaked report

  • Britain will be worse off under the three main scenarios of Brexit — whether it remains in the single market or leaves it with or without a new trade deal with the EU — a leaked government.
  • The report, revealed by the news website Buzzfeed and which suggests the least harm would be done by remaining in the single market.
  • It was dismissed by the government and leading Brexiteers as “incomplete” and an attempt to “undermine” Brexit but will be a boost to those campaigning for a “softer” Brexit.

The three main scenarios:

  1. if Britain opted to remain in the single market, growth over the next 15 years would be 2% lower than if it remained in the union.
  2. but still better off by a “no deal” scenario (with Britain reverting to WTO terms for its relationship with the EU) under which growth would be 8% lower.
  3. Under a comprehensive free trade agreement, it would be 5% lower.The analysis does not take into account short-term factors such as the cost of adjusting to new customs arrangements, which could further dampen growth.
  • Among the hardest-hit sectors will be those in which Indian companies are involved — cars and manufacturing — alongside others such as chemicals, retail, food and drink.
  • While all regions of the country would be hit, particularly the North East and West Midlands, as well as Northern Ireland.
  • The leak also coincided with the release of a report criticising “Lexit”.
  • The left-wing case for leaving the EU, calling for the Labour Party to clarify its stance on Brexit.
  • Labour Minister for Exiting the EU Keir Starmer called on the government to urgently publish its impact analysis.
  • Addressing the House of Commons on Tuesday, Minister Steve Baker described the leak as a “selective interpretation” of government analysis and an attempt to undermine Britain’s exit from the EU.

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Small savers be extra cautious about investments in retail mkt: CEA

  • The current stock market buoyancy could be a bubble.
  • Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian said investors, especially small savers, need to be extra cautious about their investments in light of the risk of a sharp correction.
  • He added that the government must resist the temptation to be populist next year, an election year, as it could again lead to fiscal stress.
  • A large number of small investors and savers have entered the market and in the event of a correction this group will be most affected.
  • In politics, you cannot afford to ignore when a small saver gets hurt.
  • A politician will be forced to respond, and those responses then can end up introducing more distortions. And that’s why we need to be extra vigilant, he added.

ISRO likes large allocation in budget

  • The Department of Space (DoS) is anticipating an increase in financial outlay in next month’s Budget.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also working to reduce the cost of its satellite and launch vehicle missions.
  • The space body was trying to lower the cost of satellites by using miniaturised avionics, advanced electronics and the recently tested EPS — electric propulsion system — among others.
  • On the launch vehicles or rockets that put these satellites into space, the use of low-cost, space-grade materials and components could reduce the weight of the rocket and allow it to carry heavier payloads.
  • With an allocation of Rs. 9,093 crore last year, ISRO would definitely like a larger allocation.
  • More satellites are required, and more launch vehicles to launch them. We also need new facilities to make them.
  • Have to bring the manufacture of launch vehicles to industry and this needs extra money.
  • ISRO never had any problem with the budget.
  • The problem is in executing [spending] it.
  • In fact, should aim for reducing the total mission cost.”
  • The first launch of the enhanced GSLV, after necessary tests and confirmations, would be the 3.2-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, scheduled to be launched in April.
  • It carries the first Indian moon lander and rover.
  • To reduce the size of the satellite without affecting its efficiency, ISRO had begun experimenting with EPS in place of chemical propulsion.
  • The system was first used in GSAT-9 (South Asia Satellite) in May last year to manage satellite functions in orbit and ISRO officials had then said it reduced fuel cargo to 25%.
  • The EPS was a promising technology. By bringing this in, a four-tonne satellite could do the job of a six-tonne spacecraft; it would also cost less to launch it.
  • However, its full use in orbit correction was yet to be explored as the satellite would then take six to 12 months to reach its orbit.
  • He said smaller, cheaper satellites could also be made using miniaturised and low-cost components.

9 models of EV in India by 2019 : Hyundai

  • South Korean auto maker Hyundai, which has set a roadmap to introduce nine models in India over the next three years.
  • It will be driving in its first electric vehicle (EV) into the country in 2019.
  • The company will also roll out a small car before Diwali this year and a compact SUV in 2019.
  • Of the nine models, two will be face-lifts, two new segment products — the AH 2 [internal name] and a sub-4 metre SUV, an electric vehicle.
  • The rest will be full model change, said, Y.K. Koo, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India.
  • There was a global trend where every one was talking about eco-friendly mobility, including EVs and hybrid.
  • But since the Indian government was focused on EVs, the company would be unveiling its electric vehicle brand Ioniq at the upcoming Auto Expo.
  • In 2019, company will start EVs as completely knocked down units to test the market.
  • Will study the market response, pricing and customer behaviour.
  • If everything is ready, may consider manufacturing them from Chennai plant.
  • He added that the company was waiting for a “clear picture and roadmap” from the government on the EVs.
  • After that the company “can follow and develop more EV products for India.”
  • We will bring in new powertrain also – AMT engine.
  • The AH 2 will come in CNG and AMT engine and will be launched before Diwali this year.
  • The concept is contemporary family oriented car. While some people are calling it the new Santro, we have still not finalised the name for the AH 2.
  • The company plans to increase capacity to about 7.63 lakh units by 2019 to support the new product additions.
  • Company capacity is about 7 lakh units. Can increase it by 13,000 more this year.
  • By 2019, they want to add capacity for another 50,000 units.
  • Hyundai had produced over 6.78 lakh units in 2017.

Skill Development needs adequate allocation in Budget

  • The skill development ecosystem is keen that the Union Budget should have adequate allocation to help complete the plan to set up model training centres in all districts, and special schemes to support skilling of women and the disabled.
  • The Budget is also likely to have an allocation to upgrade Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), sops including interest subsidies to boost skilling in ‘difficult’ areas.
  • This includes the hilly States and those affected by left wing extremism, as well as financial incentives for corporates to engage more apprentices, according to sources in the skill development ecosystem.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship envisaged establishing 650 (one in each district) ‘model training centres’ or ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras’ (PMKKs), so far, allocations had been made for setting up 527 PMKKs covering 484 districts in 27 States.
  • These allocated PMKKs would cover 406 Lok Sabha constituencies.
  • As of January 25 this year, 356 PMKKs have been established in 24 States and two Union Territories.
  • Work is going on at 124 additional sites for setting up of these centres.
  • To cover the remaining unallocated districts/parliamentary constituencies, proposals from market were invited through request for proposal, released on September 12, 2017, covering the remaining 185 unallocated districts/parliamentary constituencies.
  • There could be a push [in the Budget] to complete [the setting up of] PMKKs in the coming fiscal in the remaining districts.
  • There was also the expectation that the Budget would have some measures to take forward the Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) programmes.
  • The SANKALP has a $250 million loan assistance from the World Bank to the Government of India to boost the National Skill Development Mission
  • The programme provides specific incentives to the States to help skill disadvantaged populations through innovative models, with focus on women and persons with disability.
  • The STRIVE — a $425 million Central scheme, with half of the outlay as World Bank loan assistance — incentivises ITIs to improve their performance by involving small and medium firms, business associations and industry clusters.

::Science and Technology::

Day of Super Blue Moon and total eclipse

  • An exciting and rare treat awaits sky-watchers on Jan 31st of 2018.
  • A total eclipse of the moon, a super moon and a blue moon can be seen from the evening in many parts of India.
  • The second full moon in a month is termed the blue moon.
  • It will also be bigger and brighter as it will be closest to the earth in its orbit. This phenomenon is termed a super moon.
  • As the moon will completely enter the earth’s umbral shadow, it may look reddish, according to the Positional Astronomy Centre, India Meteorological Department.
  • The coincidence of the total eclipse with the blue moon and the super moon is a rare event.
  • In a press release, S. Sen, scientist-F of the Positional Astronomy Centre, said the eclipse will be a partial one from 5.18 p.m. to 8.42 p.m.
  • The total eclipse will start at 6.21 p.m. and end by 7.38 p.m.
  • While the ending of the total and partial phases of the eclipse will be visible across the country, the entire lunar phenomenon will be visible only in northeastern part of the country, including Kolkata.
  • The eclipse will be visible for nearly 3 hours and 24 minutes, the press release from the centre added.
  • In Chennai, people may get to see the eclipse from 6.21 p.m. onwards.
  • The next lunar eclipse will occur on July 27-28 and will be visible from India, the release said.

World Medical Association warns about NMC bill

  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, aimed at replacing the existing Medical Council of India, has now attracted the World Medical Association’s (WMA) criticism.
  • Warning that the NMC Bill, if passed, would lead to more Indian doctors leaving the country, affecting patient care.
  • the WMA has condemned the government’s plan to dismantle the professional self-governance of Indian physicians.
  • The global body has written to the Chairman of India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.
  • It said “professional self-governance is a tried and tested tool for regulating the profession in a responsible and effective way and for protecting it from undue influence, such as economic or political interests.”
  • There is absolutely no evidence from anywhere in the world that the regulation of a profession is better done by government.
  • Last month, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) opposed the Bill and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recall the draft Bill, which has now been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.
  • The IMA’s argument was that the NMC would “seriously impede the democratic functioning of the medical profession”.
  • The WMA’s letter has pointed out that professional self-governance facilitates professional autonomy and clinical independence.
  • This will be a shift from a democratically elected, autonomously governed body to a politically established and government directed body.
  • It would be counterproductive for patients and for furthering the development of the medical profession in India.

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