Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 8 February 2018
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 8 February 2018
88 mining leases in Goa squashed: SC
The Supreme Court quashed all 88 mining leases renewed by the BJP
government in Goa in 2015 to “benefit private mining leaseholders.”
The 102-page judgment of the apex court noted how these leases were
hastily renewed by the State in 2014 with retrospective effect from 2007,
just before an amended Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act
made auction of leases mandatory for mining notified minerals like iron ore.
The judgment by a Bench led by Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta
traced the “rapacious and rampant exploitation” of Goa’s fragile ecology by
private mining lease holders, whose sole motive is to make profits, for
“The primary beneficiary was, of course, the mining lease holder, a
private entity, and the price was paid by the average Goan who had to suffer
a polluted environment and witness the damage to the State’s ecology,” the
Supreme Court said, summing up Goa's mineral policy.
The judgment narrated the role played by the Goa government in the loot
of natural resources. It said the State gave private entrepreneurs mining
leases “virtually for a song.”
“The State sacrificed maximising revenue for no apparent positive
reason, virtually surrendering itself to the commercial and profit-making
motives of private entrepreneurs and ignoring the interests of Goan society
in general,” Justice Lokur, who authored the judgment, for the Bench wrote.
The court found that some private miners owed the State “staggering”
sums of up to Rs. 1,500 crore “towards value of ore extracted in excess of
the environmental clearance.”
The State government, the court held, had made no “serious attempts to
recover such huge amounts.”
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests also “played ball” by
giving environment clearances to 72 of these mining leases, the court
“There was not a single environment related or mining related law or
legal requirement that was not violated by one or the other mining lease
Quite clearly, the rule of environmental law in Goa had gone with the
wind,” the apex court quoted from the Centre’s own Vishwanath Anand
Environment Appraisal Committee set up in 2013 to probe mining illegalities.
The Union Cabinet approved the increase in the target for the Pradhan
Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, meant to provide cooking-gas connections to rural
women, to eight crore from the earlier five crore.
The deadline for achieving the target is 2020. The Cabinet also approved
an additional allocation for the scheme of Rs. 4,800 crore. The meeting took
a slew of decisions across sectors
a) increasing the minimum support price for copra,
b) extending the Discovered Small Fields Policy to include more oil and gas
c) approving several bilateral agreements signed by India,
d) and giving ex post facto approval to the changes made in the Insolvency
and Bankruptcy Bill.
“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for
increase in the minimum support price for fair average quality (FAQ) of
‘milling copra’ to Rs. 7,500 a quintal for 2018 season from Rs. 6,500 per
quintal in 2017,” the government said in a press statement.
“The MSP for FAQ of ‘ball copra’ has been increased to Rs. 7,750 per
quintal for the 2018 season from Rs. 6,785 per quintal in 2017.”
“The Union Cabinet has approved the incorporation of the official
amendments to the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016, which is pending in
Parliament,” another release said.
“The Cabinet has given its approval for extending the Discovered Small
Field Policy notified on October 14, 2015 to identified 60 discovered small
fields/un-monetised discoveries for offer under the Discovered Small Field
Policy Bid Round-ll,” the government added.
“Out of these, 22 fields/discoveries belong to Oil and Natural Gas
Corporation (ONGC) Limited, five belong to Oil India Limited (OIL) and 12
are relinquished fields/discoveries from the New Exploration and Licensing
Policy (NELP) blocks.”
UP pledge on Tobacco
A few days after the World Cancer Day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath has committed himself to controlling tobacco in the State by
signing a strongly-worded pledge.
Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for one-fourth of the 10,00,000 new cancer
cases seen every year in India.
Uttar Pradesh is the largest contributor of cancer cases in India.
Nearly half of all cancers in the State are caused by tobacco.
Uttar Pradesh accounts for the most number of mouth cancer in men in the
country and 4/5th in women.
Gutka and pan masala (which are used as chewing tobacco) originated in
Chewing tobacco originated in the State and it has to first end here.
The specifics to end the tobacco menace have to be worked out with
The Tata Memorial Hospital is setting up a 500-bed cancer centre at
Varanasi. And the State government is setting up a State Cancer Institute at
Since 50% of cancer cases in Uttar Pradesh are attributable to tobacco,
the Tata Memorial Centre doctors are trying to reduce tobacco usage to
address the source of the problem.
Getting the Chief Minister to sign the pledge is an important step in
The pledge reads: “The high consumption of tobacco products in India is
very alarming. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, nearly 28%
of adults in India use tobacco in some form. And one-third of these will die
early due to tobacco related diseases.
5 Taxes on capital hinder investments: Urjit Patel
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel expressed concern over
the government’s move to impose long-term capital gains tax on equities.
He stressed that India’s investment to GDP ratio was not adequate and
the fact that capital in the country was taxed at five different stages,
The Budget had brought back the long-term capital gains tax which
“...we need to keep in mind the taxation on capital in India is from
several sources and I think, at the marginal rate, it adds up … so from back
of the envelope, you have a corporate tax rate, you have a dividend
distribution tax rate, for dividend income above Rs. 10 lakh you have the
marginal tax rate, you have a securities transaction tax and a capital gains
So, you have five taxes on capital. And you know that would have an
impact on investment and savings decision.
The Budget proposed that long-term investment gains of more than Rs. 1
lakh, beginning February 1, 2018 would attract long-term capital gains tax
The Economic Survey, released last week, also pointed out that the
overall savings and investment rate scenario in the economy was not
According to the survey, while investment rate as a share of GDP in the
economy declined by almost 5.6 percentage points between 2011-12 and
2015-16, savings rate declined by two and half percentage points between
2011-12 and 2013-14 and remained range-bound thereafter.
“India’s investment, savings slowdown is unusual, never happened like
this before,” said Arvind Subramanian, chief economic adviser.
The ratio of gross fixed capital formation to GDP rose from 26.5% in
2003, reached a peak of 35.6% in 2007 and then, slid to 26.4% in 2017.
Dr. Patel said the country should expect its investment to GDP ratio to
improve as there were early signs that credit growth was picking up.
Year-on-year credit growth was 10.6% in January as compared with 4.7% a
EV in spotlight for auto expo
Electric vehicles stole the limelight at the Auto Expo this year, with
almost all automakers unveiling a slew of vehicles that are likely to hit
the Indian roads over the next two to three years.
However, the industry still sees the government’s proposal to move to
100% electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 as a “big challenge” amid lack of
charging infrastructure and clear policy norms, besides the high prices of
More than half of the 65 vehicles unveiled at the exposition this year
were EVs and hybrid concepts put up by car manufacturers.
Maruti Suzuki, which aims to roll out an EV in 2020, showcased
Honda earlier unveiled its Sports EV concept and NeuV EV concept.
Considering India’s expanse, it would take time to establish charging a
India a price-sensitive market and EVs currently cost at least twice as
much as a comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) model.
There also needs to be a testing facility to test the road-worthiness… a
mechanism needs to be worked out to safely dispose or recycle the battery
after its life is over.
Hyundai plans to get ahead of Maruti by introducing its EV in 2019.
EV growth in the country was inevitable in future but what was needed at
present was greater clarity from the government in terms of policies and
infrastructure, said Sumit Sawhney, country CEO and MD, Renault India
Renault showcased several cars, including TREZOR, an all-electric Grand
Tourer concept car.
Globally many countries have fixed targets for completely doing away
with fossil fuel vehicles.
The U.K. has announced a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars
By 2050, all cars on the country’s road will have zero emissions.
Paris has also planned to do away with petrol and diesel-fuelled cars,
while China plans to cap its automobile carbon emissions by 2030.
180 days more to borrowers: RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSMEs), whose cash flow was hit due to implementation of Goods
and Service Tax (GST), additional time to pay their dues to banks and
non-banking finance companies.
MSMEs with exposure of less than Rs. 25 crore, would get additional 180
days to pay their dues, provided the borrower is registered under the GST
regime and the borrower account was standard as on August 31, 2017.
“The amount from the borrower overdue as on September 1, 2017 and
payments from the borrower due between September 1, 2017 and January 31,
2018 are paid not later than 180 days from their respective original due
dates,” RBI said, stipulating a condition.
At present, banks and NBFCs classify a loan account as non-performing
asset (NPA) if payment is due for more than 90 days and 120 days
“The provision in respect of the account may be reversed as and when no
amount is overdue beyond the 90/120-day norm,” the banking regulator said.