Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 4 January 2018
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 4 January 2018
Hindi made as official language in UN
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Congress leader Shashi
Tharoor engaged in a war of words over making Hindi one of the official
languages at the United Nations.
While Mr. Tharoor questioned the proposed move of the government, the
Minister called his statement that Hindi was mainly spoken in India as
Replying to a question during the Question Hour , Ms. Swaraj said, “It
is often asked why Hindi is not an official language in the UN. Today, I
will want to tell the House, the biggest problem is the procedure...At
least, 129 member countries will have to agree to share the cost.”
The Minister explained that as per rules, two-thirds of the 193 members
of UNwill not only have to vote for Hindi as official language but also
share the financial cost incurred to do so.
“The problem comes when apart from voting, the burden of the amount also
falls on them. Economically weaker countries that support us shy away from
this. We are working on it, we are making attempts to get support of
countries like Fiji, Mauritius, Surinam... where people of Indian origin are
there,” Ms. Swaraj said
Mr. Tharoor, who was a high-ranking official in the UN, asked what was
the need to push for Hindi when it was not even the national language of
He said it makes sense if the incumbent Prime Minister chooses to speak
in Hindi but there could be a different scenario in the future.
Govt changed the figure of money received by NGO’s
More than a week after the government claimed that NGOs received only Rs.
6,499 crore as foreign contributions, the Home Ministry in a written reply
before Rajya Sabha revised the figures and said the NGOs received Rs. 13,750
crore till December 30, 2017.
In 2015-16, the foreign funds received by NGOs stood at Rs. 17,773
crores and Rs. 15,299 crores in 2014-15.
In its written reply, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said,
“close to 25,000 NGOs are registered under the Foreign Contribution
(Regulation) Act, 2010.
In all, 5,922 NGOs have been served notices for failing to file annual
returns, and the registration of 4,867 NGOs has been cancelled.
Earlier on December 20, the Home Ministry in a reply to a question in
Parliament put the figure at Rs. 6,499 crore in 2016-17, without mentioning
An official said that the figures given on December 20 were provisional
as the last date for filing annual returns was December 31.
“The foreign funds received by many NGOs were not accounted for in the
reply given in December,” explained an official.
India rejects Anti-tank missile deal with Israel
An Indian Defence Ministry spokesman declined comment on the
cancellation.Local media reported that India’s Defence Research and
Development Organisation was developing a domestic anti-tank missile the
government was keen to support.
“Rafael regrets the decision and remains committed to cooperating with
the Indian Ministry of Defence and to its strategy of continuing to work in
India, an important market, as it has for more than two decades, to provide
India with the most advanced and innovative systems,” the firm said in a
However, India’s Defence Ministry said separately it had cleared a plan
to buy 131 Barak missiles.The 4.6-billion-rupee ($72 million) order follows
up an earlier purchase of Barak missiles, meant to protect Navy vessels
against sea-skimming missiles and aerial threats.
The two countries have grown closer since Prime Minister Narendra Modi
took office in 2014, widening commercial cooperation beyond their
longstanding defence ties.
Mr. Modi became the first sitting Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel
last summer, and Mr. Netanyahu will fly to India on Jan. 14.
Rafael, whose CEO will join Mr. Netanyahu on his trip, said the
cancellation was made prior to the signing of the final supply contract and
despite its compliance with all of India’s wishes.
Difference between ministries over CAMPA
Differences between the Environment Ministry and the Finance Ministry
have become a roadblock to the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management
and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
This authority was envisaged as an independent body that would manage a
corpus — collected from industries that have used forest land for projects —
that accumulates around Rs. 6,000 crore annually and is already worth around
Rs. 42,000 crore.
These funds are meant to be used by states to implement agro-forestry in
non-forest land to compensate for felled forest. In spite of Parliament —
after a fractious debate — signing CAMPA into law last year, it is yet to
come into existence.
Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma told Parliament last
week that this was because the “rules” governing the management of the fund
weren’t finalised and several meetings had been held among states to fix
Sources in the Environment Ministry say that while the rules have been
framed, the Finance Ministry isn’t on board. “Power to disburse the funds
should be with the CAMPA, however the Finance Ministry says it should be
routed through the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).
The CFI is the repository of government revenues and taxes and all funds
channelled through it require Parliamentary approval. Currently funds
collected under CAMPA directly go into the Public Account and from thereon
to the states.
The Comptroller and Auditor General recently pulled up the government
for not transferring Rs. 83,497 crore, collected as a ‘Secondary and Higher
Education Cess’ in the Consolidated Fund of India during 2006-2007 to
2016-2017, to designated funds in the Public Account from where government
routes money to schemes.
Currently, States are able to access CAMPA funds through an “ad hoc”
mechanism whereby the Centre disburses it on a needs-basis.
There are, however, too few personnel entrusted with managing this fund
and often there isn’t enough due-diligence. This year, for instance, the ad
hoc body disbursed only Rs. 1,827 crore to states this year as opposed to Rs.
2,213 crore and Rs. 2,057 crore in the preceding years.
The Supreme Court, in a 2009 order, had directed that an independent
authority be charged with disbursing these funds.
Govt ready to send the triple talaq bill to select committee but only after
The government said it could concede to the Opposition’s demand to send
the triple talaq Bill to a select committee of Parliament but only after a
debate in the Rajya Sabha.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress and some other
Opposition parties of “double standard” — for supporting the Muslim Women
(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, or the triple talaq Bill in
the Lok Sabha but attempting to stall it in the Rajya Sabha by asking that
it be sent to a select committee.
Mr. Jaitley said this at a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary party in
the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
“Arunji said that while the Congress and some others supported the Bill
in the Lok Sabha, the situation in the Rajya Sabha was different where these
parties were acting in tandem with the Left to block the Bill.
He also said that when he was Law Minister in the first NDA government,
when certain offences under the Domestic Violence Bill were to be considered
bailable, Left feminist activists moved the Supreme Court to make these
When it comes to criminalising certain laws related to Hindu, Sikh or
Christian marriages, the opposition is not that great, only when it comes to
Muslim marriages this is so.
The Congress and the Left are ideologically confused on this issue, a
Bill that seeks gender justice,” said an MP who was present at the meeting.
Other Ministers too spoke at the meeting, with the Prime Minister and Mr.
Shah remaining silent.
Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi castigated the
Congress and the Opposition for spreading “disinformation” that the Modi
government was against minorities.
“Under the previous UPA regime, Saudi Arabia cut the Haj quota from
India to as many as 25,000 visas, while the Modi government negotiated an
overall enhancement of our Haj quota to 36,000 visas,” he said.
He also said that it was the Modi government that had made progressive
changes in the Haj policy, allowing females unaccompanied by males to make
the pilgrimage,” he said.
Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment led the parliamentary party
through the intricacies of the OBC Bill that had to be re-introduced in the
Lok Sabha as some amendments moved by the Opposition were cleared by the
US says specific action on Pakistan is expected within two days
Some specific action on Pakistan could be expected in the next one or
two days, the White House said. However, Mr. Trump’s harshly worded Twitter
post on January 1, several commentators fear, could be counterproductive to
its operations in Afghanistan.
Multiple statements emerging from the Trump administration kept the
pressure up on Pakistan. U.S. Permanent Representative to United Nations
Nikki Haley said Pakistan had “played a double game for years”.
“In terms of specific actions, I think you’ll see some more details come
out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours,” White House Press Secretary Sarah
Sanders said during the daily briefing.
The administration has already withheld military aid of $255 million in
August, which is technically still available to Pakistan, conditionally.
That could be withdrawn entirely.
A decision on $400 million in Coalition Support Fund — reimbursement of
expenses to Pakistan related to Afghan war — for the year 2017 is also
pending. This money could be given only if the administration certifies that
Pakistan has taken adequate action against the Haqqani Network.
Mr. Trump’s tweet does not indicate a shift in policy, as the previous
Barack Obama administration had come to the same conclusion about Pakistan.
Mr. Trump’s undiplomatic rhetoric, on the other hand, could backfire.
“In actual terms, the policy does not appear to have substantially
changed. In its final years, the Obama administration followed through on
cuts in military and economic aid when they were unsatisfied with the degree
of cooperation coming from Islamabad, particularly in targeting militant
organisations. This was meant to send a signal of divergent interests.
“The difference is that the current administration has amplified the
signal with a sweeping incendiary statements and antagonistic rhetoric that
is likely (to be) counterproductive,” said Sameer Lalwani, Co-Director of
the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center.
Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the
Council on Foreign Relations believes that Pakistan is “actively choosing”
to not acting against the Haqqanis.
Pakistan has plenty of tools to respond to further U.S. coercive
measures including closing the G-LOCS and A-LOCS (ground and air lines of
communications), ratcheting up the temperature on the Afghan border, and
reducing intelligence cooperation.
If the U.S. pressure tactics work, and Pakistan backs off on its links
to militants, then Afghanistan is a big winner. But if the pressure tactics
fail, stability in Afghanistan could worsen, and the U.S. war effort in
Afghanistan will grow even more complicated than it already is.
::Business and Economy::
More than 5000 crore allotted for development of Waterways
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the more than Rs.
5,369 crore Jal Marg Vikas Project for development of fairway on National
Waterway-1 with the technical and investment support of the World Bank.
The project will extend over Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West
Bengal. It will cover major districts, including Varanasi, Ghazipur,
Vaishali, Patna, Begusarai, Musrhidabad, Pakur, Hoogly and Kolkata,
according to an official statement.
The project, which is expected to be completed by March 2023, will
provide alternative mode of transport that will be environment friendly and
cost effective, the government said, adding that the project would
contribute in bringing down the logistics cost in the country while
providing a boost to infrastructure development.
“NW-1 development and operations will lead to direct employment
generation to the tune of 46,000 and indirect employment of 84,000 will be
generated by vessel construction industry,” the government added.
The government said that the IBRD loan component would be Rs. 2,512
crore, while the Centre’s counterpart funding of Rs. 2,556 crore would be
sourced from budgetary allocation and the proceeds from a bond issue.
Private sector participation under PPP mode would be Rs. 301 crore.
The project will include construction of multi-modal terminals at
Varanasi, Sahibganj, Haldia, Kalughat, Ghazipur and Farakka, five pairs of
roll-on roll-off terminals, integrated ship repair and maintenance
complexes, bank protection works, and provision of navigation aids.
Bharat Biotech has received a pre-qualification from the WHO
Bharat Biotech has received a pre-qualification from the World Health
Organisation (WHO) for Typbar Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine.
This paves the way for supplies of the vaccine to UNICEF, Pan-American
Health Organization (PAHO) and Gavi supported countries, chairman and
managing director told.
The Hyderabad firm, which had invested Rs. 150 crore in the product and
is positioned to supply up to 50 million doses a year, is working to expand
the manufacturing capacity to 200 million doses.
Mr. Ella said he expected the first deliveries, following the
pre-qualification, to begin this year. In India, the product is being
marketed for two years now.
Typbar TCV is the first typhoid vaccine clinically proven to be
administered to children from 6 months of age to adults, and confers
long-term protection against typhoid fever.
A release said the product had been evaluated in human challenge studies
at Oxford University and typhoid conjugate vaccines had been recommended by
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization.
With WHO-SAGE recommendation, for use of TCV for use in infants between
6 and 23 months of age and catch up vaccinations for children between 2 and
15 years of age, countries could introduce the vaccine into their
National Telecom policy-18 open for public comments
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation
paper inviting stakeholder comments on the new National Telecom Policy that
is expected to be finalised by March this year.
The consultation process follows a DoT letter in August last year,
requesting the authority to give its policy inputs for formulation of the
National Telecom Policy-2018.
In the paper, TRAI has sought stakeholders’ comments on structure and
contents of the proposed inputs for National Telecom Policy-2018, clearly
outlining the specifics, besides suggesting any other issue related to
policy framework which stakeholders feel are important for the growth of the
The government has targeted to finalise the National Telecom Policy-2018
TRAI said, NTP-2018 “can have twin goals (i) facilitate development of
communication infrastructure and services to achieve inclusive
socio-economic growth in the country, and (ii) to propel India to become the
front-runner in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
This policy would set the mission and objectives to be accomplished by
the end of calendar year 2022, when India will be celebrating its 75 years
of Independence, it added. The deadline for the written comments is January