Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 5 January 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 5 January 2018

::National::

Bill to raise Judges salary cleared in lower house

  • The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to hike the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • The Bill proposes to hike the salary of the Chief Justice of India to Rs. 2.80 lakh a month, and that of judges of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices of High Courts to Rs. 2.5 lakh a month. Judges of High Courts will draw a salary of Rs. 2.25 lakh a month once this Bill becomes law.
  • The Rajya Sabha has to pass the Bill by the last day of this session, failing which it will spill on to the budget session.
  • The salary hike, in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for officers of all-India services, will come into force with effect from January 1, 2016.
  • The discussion on the Bill saw members express concern over what they saw as threats to separation of powers, calls for hiked salaries for MPs, and even for reservation in the judiciary.
  • Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed his support for the idea of an All-India Judicial Service on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service for drawing the best legal minds to the judiciary. He said reservation could become a reality if such a service comes up.
  • He expressed concern over the Supreme Court setting aside the National Judicial Appointments Commission on the plea that the presence of the Law Minister would mean a judge appointed through the process may not be fair when hearing a case against the government.
  • Mr. Prasad said some of the finest judges were appointed in times when the Law Minister was part of the process of appointment.
  • Making a strong pitch for separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary, Mr. Prasad said this was part of the basic structure of the Constitution none could violate, adding that only those who were accountable could legislate.
  • He also referred to the pendency of judges’ vacancies, adding that the government could fill the vacancies only when the collegium made recommendations.
  • He said there were six vacancies in the Supreme Court and while the process was on to fill 129 vacancies in High Courts, there were 269 vacant posts of High Court judges for which no recommendations by the collegium had been received.
  • “It is the responsibility of the judiciary to fill these,” Mr. Prasad said.

NHRC directed six State govts to make concerted efforts to curb social menace of child marriage

  • Concerned over high prevalence of child marriage in six States — Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal — the National Human Rights Commission has directed the State governments to make concerted efforts to curb this social menace.
  • In the first of a three-part regional conference, the NHRC and representatives of the six States met to discuss factors responsible for continuation of this archaic social custom, and practices adopted to eliminate child marriages from the society. The two other conferences would be held in western and southern States of India.
  • The National Family Health Survey-4 had found that 26.8% of women aged 20 to 24 years were married before the age of 18.Of the six States under review at the Bhubaneswar conference, Bihar and West Bengal had the highest incidence of child marriages.
  • In fact, West Bengal topped the list with 40.7% of women aged 20 to 24 years married before the age of 18.
  • Bihar followed with 39.1% against the national average of 26.8%. While Jharkhand and Assam were ranked higher than the national average, Chhattisgarh and Odisha were placed just below the national average.
  • According to a report, 40% of all child marriages in the world are performed in India. It is totally unacceptable. Despite Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, being in force, only 293 and 326 cases were reported under the Act in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
  • The low reporting of child marriages indicates that there are social sanctions, said Mr. Sinha. An estimated 3,600 child marriages are solemnised in India every day.
  • “A girl remaining unmarried is still an oddity in society. In most cases, parents resort to early marriage of their girls in order to protect their chastity. It is normal in many communities,” said the NHRC member.
  • “The society is still unaware of the health risk being faced by a girl if she is married early. Since the reproduction decisions are taken mostly by males, health condition of girls deteriorates at the time of childbirth,” he pointed out.
  • The NHRC emphasised the need for creating opportunities for continuation of girls’ education and skill development to make them employable.

Key economic indicators are showing upward swing

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha that key economic indicators were showing an upward swing.
  • Mr. Jaitley assured the members that a positive impact of the bold reforms like the Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation would get reflected in the medium to long term.
  • However, the Congress attacked the BJP government over what it termed a “gasping” economy.It pointed to increasing unemployment as a bad sign.
  • Opposition members also raised the issues of farmer suicides and the demonetisation’s impact on small industries.
  • Mr. Jaitley listed GST rollout, demonetisation, containing of inflation and recapitalisation of public sector banks as major policy decisions under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • He said it was a good sign that even though the country’s economy grew at a rate of 7-8%, people aspired for more.
  • Mr. Jaitley said the growth was maintained despite the fact that there were droughts in two of the three-and-half years of the NDA government.
  • On the issue of recapitalisation, Mr. Jaitley said it was not an ideal situation. But, the decision had to be taken to ensure that the bank system remained robust enough to fuel economic growth.
  • He said the “reckless” lending in the past did not take care of risk management.
  • Responding to the charge that GST had badly hit small-scale and medium industries, the Finance Minister said the government had levied just 1% on businesses with Rs. 1 crore turnover, the lowest in the world.
  • The GST Council had then proposed its extension to all those with turnover till Rs. 1.5 crore. About 16 lakh industrial units had registered under the scheme and paid Rs. 250 crore in taxes, he said.
  • On the issue of highway constructions, Mr. Jaitley said in the previous government there were no takers for tenders and now, 255 highways were being constructed and about Rs. 28,000 crore was being given for rural roads.
  • Earlier, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Anand Sharma said under the current government, there was a continuous decline in the economic parameters.
  • “There is not even one engine of growth which is actually running,” he said.
  • He said the average GDP growth during UPA rule was 7.8% and job creation was the highest in the manufacturing sector.

Separate High court for AP would be decided by full High Court bench

  • The ‘timeline’ for shifting of separate A.P. High Court to Andhra Pradesh will be decided by the Full Court comprising all the Judges of the common High Court after the report is submitted by the committee of Judges on the proposed buildings.
  • The Full Court will have to be satisfied about all the requirements like fully secured compound exclusively for the High Court with parking space for 2,000 cars and large built up area along with 30 court halls.
  • It is learnt that the letter addressed to the Acting Chief Justice did not specify any particular place or building for the proposed temporary High Court. A section of lawyers petitioned the Judges that the major stakeholders —2,000 practising advocates of High Court — will have to be taken into confidence.
  • One section of lawyers reportedly circulated the judgment of a Division Bench of Hyderabad High Court delivered in May 2015. In that judgment, the High Court did not appreciate ad hoc arrangement.
  • Now the committee of five Judges who have opted to State of Andhra Pradesh will be visiting the buildings (though not yet disclosed by Government) and report back to the Full Court.
  • The Full Court will then consider whether all the requirements for a respectful functioning of a constitutional Court have been met with or not.
  • It is learnt that the Judges have assured the advocates that the requirements of a constitutional court keeping in tune with its majesty will have to be fulfilled and then only the issue of shifting will be considered.
  • A section of advocates and employees have pointed out that nearly 4,500 families will have to shift to either to Guntur or Vijayawada and the issue of local status of the children will have to be taken care of by the State and the Central Governments.

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::Business and Economy::

Services sector activities returned to growth in December

  • Services sector activity returned to growth in December following a contraction in November, on the back of stabilising new orders, according to a private sector survey.
  • The Nikkei India Business Activity Index, which measures services sector activity, came in at 50.9 in December from 48.5 in November.A reading above 50 denotes an expansion while one below 50 implies a contraction.
  • “Following a decline in November, the Indian service sector returned to marginal growth during December as new orders broadly stabilised,” the report said.
  • “Though solid overall, cost inflationary pressures also eased from November’s recent-high, whilst business expectations remained positive. Reflecting improvements in output requirements, job creation quickened to the fastest since September.”
  • “The turnaround in business activity stemmed from growth in information and communications and finance and insurance, with declines seen elsewhere,” the report added. “That said, activity growth was slight and remained well below the average recorded for the survey history as a whole.”
  • Companies that witnessed a growth in new orders said this was largely due to improved demand conditions. However, those firms that saw a decline in new contracts said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) continued to weigh on underlying sales volumes.
  • “India’s service economy showed signs of recovery as it returned to marginal expansion in December,” Aashna Dodhia, economist, IHS Markit, and author of the report, said.
  • “That said, it remained on a weak growth trajectory amid reports that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was still hindering efforts to secure new clients.”
  • “Greater backlogs continued to accumulate as a result of cash shortages and delayed payments that stemmed from the disruption of recent structural reforms,” Ms.Dodhia added.

80,000 crore bonds for bank recapitalisation

  • The Lok Sabha gave its approval for Rs. 80,000 crore recapitalisation bonds for strengthening public sector banks (PSBs), with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promising that the fund infusion would be accompanied by a series of reforms.
  • Replying to the debate on supplementary demands for grants for 2017-18, he said though it was not ideal, as the owner of the PSBs, the Centre had the responsibility to bail them out.
  • The Department of Financial Services has a detailed plan with regard to capital infusion, he said.

7.75% taxable saving bonds introduced by the Govt.

  • The Centre announced the introduction of 7.75% savings bonds designed to help citizens invest in a taxable instrument, without any monetary ceiling.The instruments would be available for sale from January 10, 2018.
  • The bonds are open to investment by individuals, including joint holdings and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs). Non-resident Indians are not eligible to invest in these bonds.
  • The bonds will be issued at par, that is, at Rs. 100 and would be issued for a minimum amount of and in multiples of Rs. 1,000.
  • “The bonds will be on tap till further notice and issued in cumulative and non-cumulative forms,” according to a statement from the Centre.
  • “There will be no maximum limit for investment in the bonds. Interest on the bonds will be taxable under the Income-tax Act, 1961 as applicable according to the relevant tax status of the bond holder.”
  • The bonds will, however, be exempt from wealth tax under the Wealth Tax Act, 1957. “The bonds will have a maturity of seven years carrying interest at 7.75% per annum payable half-yearly,” according to the statement.
  • “The cumulative value of Rs. 1,000 at the end of seven years will be Rs 1,703. The bonds are not transferable,” it said.
  • “The bonds are not tradeable in the secondary market and are not eligible as collateral for loans from banking institutions, non-banking financial companies or financial institutions.”

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