Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 5 February 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 5 February 2018

::NATIONAL::

No first attack, but limitless bullets to retaliate: Rajnath

  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Indian troops had instructions to “shoot limitless bullets to retaliate to a single fire on our territory” from Pakistan.
  • The Minister’s comments came even as ceasefire violations continued to rise with January witnessing the most number since the 2003 ceasefire agreement.
  • Speaking at an election meeting in Agartala, Mr. Singh said India wanted peaceful relations with Pakistan, but would retaliate aggressively if provoked.
  • “I have given standing orders to our forces to shoot limitless bullets to retaliate against a single fire on our territory by the Pakistani forces,” he said.
  • “We do not want to attack Pakistan first. We want to live with peace and harmony with our all neighbours. But most unfortunately, Pakistan is trying to tear down Jammu and Kashmir and continue attacks on our forces and Indian territory,” he said.
  • Army sources said 2017 has turned out to be the most violent year along the India-Pakistan border since the two sides entered into a ceasefire agreement in 2003.
  • At least 860 incidents of ceasefire violations have been recorded in the past year.
  • January 2018 recorded the highest number of ceasefire violations ever since the 2003 agreement with 150 violations.
  • In contrast, January 2017 saw just eight such instances.
  • Ceasefire violations have been steadily rising over the past three years.
  • In 2015 there were 387 violations, while in 2016 it was 271.
  • Over the past few months, violations have been going up, with December 2017 recording 147 instances.

Artefacts unearthed in Odisha

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered pottery pieces, and tools made of stones and bones believed to be of the pre-Christian era from a mound in Jalalpur village of Cuttack district.
  • Discoveries of ancient artefacts indicated that a rural settlement might have thrived in that period.
  • What is important in these latest discoveries is that we have found continuity in the progress of rural culture from a pre-historic era.
  • Excavation carried out on 12 acres of land in the Jalalpur village has unearthed remnants of axe, adze, celts and thumbnail scrappers chiselled from stones, harpoons, point and stylus made of bones and potteries with marks of paintings.
  • The ASI teams have also come across a couple of circular wattle and daub structures, which were predominantly used by people to take shelter during the pre-Christian era, in 12 trenches being dug simultaneously.
  • Will send carbon samples to the Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC), New Delhi, and the BirbalSahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow, to ascertain their exact age.
  • Once they get the exact age, it will be easier to analyse the rural settlement and its activities.
  • The ASI researcher, however, said the people here could not have lived in isolation and they could have had cultural and trade ties with other settlements in the Prachi Valley that had come up around the Prachiriver, which gradually disappeared.
  • Rich materials found from excavation sites indicate that the people had a subsistence economy and they largely relied on agriculture, fishing and hunting.
  • ASI researchers assumed that the bones found on the site belonged to deer species and bovidae.
  • Discovery of tortoise shell, dolphin and shark teeth and fish bones indicated that the settlement could have been closer to the sea coast.
  • Some rice grains have also been detected.
  • Further excavation is expected to throw light on whether there was cultural link with other settlements, what happened to settlements established around the Prachiriver, and how it declined.

::INTERNATIONAL::

INDIA-US have common interests: U.S.Air Force Chief

  • Chief of the U.S. Air Force General David L. Goldfein has said Indian and U.S. Air Forces will significantly ramp up operational cooperation to complement the strategic interests of the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The region where China has been expanding its military influence.
  • Calling India a “central strategic partner” of the U.S. in the region, he said two of the world’s largest Air Forces were going to shift the focus jointly on the Indo-Pacific region.
  • He asserted that the rules-based order must be preserved in the critical sea lanes.
  • Gen. Goldfein held extensive talks with Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa and the top brass in the defence establishment during his three-day visit.
  • He said the “Quadrilateral” coalition among the U.S., India, Japan and Australia would provide for deeper cooperation between the Indian and American Air Forces.
  • Asked if cooperation between the two forces would deepen in the wake of the four countries joining hands to contain Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region, he replied, “I do [think so] and that is a big part of my visit and in my discussions here.”
  • “We have common interests in preserving the rules-based order. So while we look for opportunities for partnerships, it is actually appropriate also for us to be critical of those who are trying to change,” he said in an interview in New Delhi.
  • Gen. Goldfein refused to commit when asked if the U.S. would increase its military presence in South China Sea.
  • “We want to be strategically predictable but operationally unpredictable. I am not going to share with our adversaries what our intentions are. If we are to increase our presence or decrease our presence, that is something we will do at our time and place of our choosing,” he said.

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::ECONOMY::

ODI plan to help Indian firms turn to MNCs

  • The proposed Outward Direct Investment (ODI) policy may contain provisions to make it easy for many Indian firms, envisioning ambitious plans to transform themselves into multi-national companies (MNC), to go global and expand.
  • Approval requirements and other norms would be simplified in a manner that would encourage ‘internationalisation’ of Indian companies.
  • However the ODI policy was expected to tighten regulations to prevent round-tripping structures.
  • Regulations where funds are routed by India-based companies into a newly formed or existing overseas subsidiary and then brought back to India to circumvent regulations here.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Finance Ministry (tax department) were concerned about such structures.
  • In his 2018-19 Budget speech, Finance Minister ArunJaitley said, “The government will review existing guidelines and processes and bring out a coherent and integrated ODI policy.”
  • Currently, the jurisdiction over ODI is mainly with the RBI, and the concerned law here is the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
  • There are some irritants in the current (ODI) norms.
  • As per Finance Ministry data, India’s ODI rose 56.1% year-on-year from $6.8 billion in 2014-15 to $10.6 billion in 2015-16, and further up by 39.37% to $14.8 billion in 2016-17.
  • Top ten ODI destination countries in FY’15, FY’16 and FY’17 included Mauritius, Singapore, the U.S., the UAE and the Netherlands.
  • The IBEF said ODI is being channelled into Mauritius, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands mainly because these countries provide higher tax benefits.
  • Interestingly, this composition of ODI destination countries more or less mirrored the top sources of foreign direct investment inflows into India in the same period including, Mauritius, Singapore, the U.S., the UAE and the Netherlands.
  • The IBEF said ODI is being channelled into Mauritius, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands mainly because these countries provide higher tax benefits.
  • Interestingly, this composition of ODI destination countries more or less mirrored the top sources of foreign direct investment inflows into India in the same period including, Mauritius, Singapore, the U.S., the UAE and the Netherlands.

Power to SEBI to impose monetary penalties

  • As part of the proposed amendments in the Finance Bill 2018, the government has given more power to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to impose monetary penalties on important market intermediaries.
  • Such as stock exchanges and clearing corporations and also act against newer categories of participants likes investment advisers, research analysts, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs).
  • The proposed amendments to the SEBI Act and the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act now allow the capital markets regulator to impose a monetary penalty of at least Rs. 5 crore.
  • The penalty on stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories for non-compliance with regulatory norms.
  • The penalty can go up to Rs. 25 crore or three times the amount of gains made out of such failure or non-compliance.
  • Hitherto, SEBI only had the power to censure or warn against any form of failure.
  • Incidentally, the new powers come at a time when the National Stock Exchange is under the SEBI scanner in the co-location matter, with regard to which it has been allegedthat a certain set of brokers were given preferential access allowing them to make undue gains.
  • The amendments also allow SEBI to act against entities that furnish false or incomplete information to the regulator.
  • Earlier, it could act only if the entity did not furnish any information.
  • The whole-time members of SEBI have also been given additional powers to act against wrongdoers.
  • This is not the first time that the government has used the Union Budget to empower the capital market regulator.
  • While presenting the Budget for 2015-16, finance minister ArunJaitley proposed the merger of the then commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission with SEBI.
  • This followed the Rs. 5,600 crore settlement scam at the National Spot Exchange Ltd., which came out in the open in July 2013.
  • Incidentally, REITs and InvITs along with research analysts and investment advisers, will have to be more careful now as the Finance Bill allows SEBI to impose a penalty of up to Rs. 1 lakh per day for the period of non-compliance.
  • Interestingly, the government has also allowed the regulator to pursue cases against the legal representatives of defaulters if in case a defaulter passes away during the course of regulatory proceedings.
  • “Provided that, in case of any penalty payable under this Act, a legal representative shall be liable only in case the penalty has been imposed before the death of the deceased person,” the Finance Bill states.

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