Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 9 February 2018
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 9 February 2018
Low water availability in Narmada may trigger severe crisis in Gujarat
Despite heavy rainfall last year, Gujarat is set to face a severe water
crisis because of the low water availability in Narmada dam.
It is the main source of water in the State — due to deficient rainfall
in the Narmada catchment area in Madhya Pradesh.
As a result, the State government has repeatedly announced that it will
not supply water for irrigation.
The entire stock will be reserved for drinking water in Saurashtra and
North Gujarat regions, both water starved provinces and highly dependent on
water from Narmada canals.
In a statement, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) appealed to
farmers not to sow a summer crop unless they had a local water source which
could irrigate their fields because in the Narmada dam, the storage level
was at 45% of the 15-year average.
However, the government’s move to curtail supply has irked farmers as
well as the Opposition party, who allege mismanagement by the State
According to Gujarat government officials, they had the inkling that
this year Narmada water would not be available for irrigation.
However, due to the Assembly polls in November-December, the State
government, instead of making proper arrangements, did not even inform the
farmers and the public of the likely shortfall.
October 2017 onwards, it became evident that the availability of water
from the Narmada dam would be substantially lower than the State’s quota of
9 million acre feet (MAF) that it gets as per the Narmada water sharing
Now, Gujarat will get only 4.71 MAF. That is enough for drinking water
but not for irrigating fields.
Interestingly, when the State government was apparently aware of a sharp
drop in water inflows in the Narmada dam.
It celebrated the Narmada Festival while Prime Minister Narendra Modi
attended an event to announce the completion of dam over the river.
Gujarat’s Chief Secretary J.N. Singh told the media that the State
government would ensure that there was no drinking water crisis during
We will handle Ayodhya title dispute as a Land issue only: SC
The Supreme Court exhorted parties in the 70-year-old
Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute to treat it merely as a “land
Indicating it would not be swayed by the history of religious conflict
and violence associated with the Ayodhya site, Chief Justice of India Dipak
Misra addressed a tense and crowded courtroom, saying, “Please treat this as
a land issue.”
The Hindu parties and sects involved in the dispute believe Lord Ram was
born on this land.
Kar sevaks razed the 15th century Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
In September 2010, a three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High
Court directed a three-way partition of the disputed site in Ayodhya.
But this judgment led to appeals and cross-appeals filed by parties in
the Supreme Court.
The court warded off third-party intervenors, who said they wanted in as
the Ayodhya appeals dealt with an issue which impacted the nation.
But the Bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul
Nazeer, firmly told them that these were appeals and cross-appeals filed in
land suits, and parties concerned were quite capable of arguing them without
any third-party interventions.
4 Weeks to UP for Taj protection plan: SC
The Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to place before
it a vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal.
It also asked why there was a “sudden flurry of activity” in the Taj
Trapezium Zone (TTZ).
The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq. km spread over the districts of
Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in U.P. and Rajasthan.
A Bench of justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta questioned
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the U.P.
government, on why leather industries and hotels were coming up in the TTZ
when such activities were stopped earlier.
“There is a sudden flurry of activity in the TTZ. Is there any
particular reason for that? Leather industries and hotels are coming up
there. Why? It should remain stopped. Why this activity is there in the TTZ?”
Mr. Mehta submitted that he would seek instructions on the issue and get
back to the court.
The Bench also asked the State government to file within four week a
vision document on protection and preservation of the 17th century
The court had in December last year said that a detailed and
comprehensive vision document and plan with a futuristic perspective that
could protect and preserve the iconic monument, its environs and the TTZ for
at least a few hundred years, should be prepared.
During the hearing, the State government filed an application seeking
the court’s permission to cut 234 trees in Agra for laying pipelines for
water supply in the city.
The counsel told the Bench that 122 km of pipelines out of the 130 km
had already been laid and for the remaining 8 km, the authorities need to
cut 234 trees and the TTZ had granted permission for it.
The court asked the State government to inform it within four weeks on
where land to plant trees was available in the area and also give details
about the number of trees planted there.
Environmentalist M. C. Mehta, who has filed a plea seeking protection of
the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and
around the area, told the Bench that he had attended a meeting of the
authorities concerned last month to discuss the issue related to protection
of the monument.
“In my view, no satisfactory discussion took place,” he said, adding
that he had not yet received the minutes of the meeting.
To this, the ASG said that the minutes of the meeting have been prepared
and as per the court’s direction, members of civil societies had also
attended the discussion.
Meanwhile, advocates representing the leather and glass industries
referred to separate applications filed by them but the Bench said it would
hear these matters after four weeks.
The apex court would also take up during the next hearing another
application seeking permission to cut trees for widening of road near
Govardhana Hill in Mathura.
The TTZ had earlier told the court that a “no construction zone” was
declared within a-500 metre radius of the Taj and the State government had
envisaged a comprehensive plan to ensure balance between environment and
In 6 months, fresh mining leases: Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that fresh mining leases
could be issued tentatively within six months with due process.
The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference at the State
Secretariat on Thursday, a day after the Supreme Court cancelled all 88 ore
mining leases citing irregularities in the second renewal process.
“Six months should be the target, from March, subject to no hurdles and
problems in between. I have told you that the State is examining all
options,” Mr. Parrikar said.
He added that the State would not face any financial setback due to the
apex court’s decision.
“The damage is temporary. There is not much of a loss to the government.
As far as financial impact on the State goes [it will be around] Rs. 300 to
Rs. 400 crore. We can bear it. Next year income from [the mining sector]
will be Rs. 300 to Rs. 400 crore. There is material still available in
balance from e-auctions. We can auction that,” Mr. Parrikar said.
He admitted, however, that there would definitely be an impact on those
depending on the mining industry, and said the government will work fast to
start mining with proper procedure.
Mr. Parrikar said the leases were renewed for a second time based on
directions from the Bombay High Court at Goa.
“The Supreme Court has set aside that decision, saying that the High
Court did not interpret their judgement [of cancelling the leases]
properly,” he said.
Mr. Parrikar refused to confirm if the State government would auction
the leases, saying that he needs to study the legal aspects.
He also said that as per the apex court’s order, while mining has been
banned from March 15, there was nothing to stop mining companies from
exporting the ore already extracted, which is stacked on transportation
jetties and other plots outside the lease areas.
“[The lease-holders] have been permitted to extract up to March 15. So
obviously that ore will belong to them, subject to the condition that they
pay the royalty, District Mineral Fund, everything,” Mr. Parrikar said.
He said there is no ban on export.
The Supreme Court order has also asked about recovery of State dues from
Mr. Parrikar said the State has already started the process to recover
dues from mining companies after exhaustive audit by chartered accountants.
The Maldivian government invited all political parties to re-convene
This happened days after it shut down Parliament and declared a state of
emergency, drawing sharp criticism at home and abroad.
“In view of the existing situation in the country, and the importance of
all-party talks for the welfare of the people of the Maldives, the
government has decided to reconvene all-party talks, and has issued
invitations to all parties to engage in dialogue with the government,” a
statement from the President’s office said.
However, a top Opposition source told The Hindu that all-party talks
were “absolutely out of the question” in a situation where dissidents were
arrested and “ill-treated”, and the President had effectively “imposed
“There can be no negotiating with a dictator like this,” the source
said, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, a visiting delegation of Ambassadors from Colombo-based
German, the U.K. and EU missions — that flew to Male — on Thursday said its
request to meet President Yameen was turned down.
Following the government’s refusal to implement a surprise Supreme Court
ruling last week, its subsequent declaration of a state of emergency, and a
series of high-profile arrests, the Maldives has plunged into a political
The arrests of the Chief Justice and another Supreme Court judge — part
of the bench that ordered the release of nine Opposition leaders including
former President Mohamed Nasheed — escalated the tension.
Three other judges annulled part of the earlier ruling, effectively
revoking the release order of jailed dissidents.
Lawyers of the Supreme Court judge said the Chief Justice was threatened
that he would be “cut into pieces unless he reversed the ruling”, in a
South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights
defenders, said it was “deeply concerned” by the political crisis engulfing
the Maldives, following President Abdulla Yameen’s increasingly
“authoritarian and undemocratic actions”.
Observing that “President Yameen stands accused of multiple charges of
corruption and human rights violations” — allegations that he has denied in
the past — the human rights organisation noted that the strongman President
has been “politically isolated”.
IT dept. sends 1lakh notices to bitcoin investors
The Income Tax Department has issued one lakh tax notices to people who
have invested in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Central Board of Direct
Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra said.
The tax department had conducted a nationwide survey which showed $3.5
billion worth of transactions on various cryptocurrency exchanges across
India over a period of 17 months.
People who have made investments [in cryptocurrency] and have not
declared income while filing taxes and have not paid tax on the profit
earned by investing, we are sending them notices as we feel that it is all
They found out that there is no clarity on investments made by many
people which means that they have not declared it properly.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had, in his Budget speech last week,
stressed that cryptocurrencies were not legal tender.
The government would clamp down on any such illegal transactions, he had
said at the time.
However, industry players said the action taken by the Income Tax
Department still did not mean that holding cryptocurrencies was illegal.
“You see, the Finance Minister and the RBI have both clarified that
cryptocurrencies are not legal tender,” the CEO of one of India’s
cryptocurrency exchanges said on the condition of anonymity.
“This means that you cannot use it in place of the rupee. But he did not
say anything about investing in it as an asset. This action by the tax
department is only against those who made investments but did not declare it
in their returns. It would have been the same if they had invested in any
other asset and didn’t declare it.”
India is a very attractive market for cryptocurrency companies, both
domestic and international.
A worldwide study of the market by Malaysian firm Pundi X, which is
looking to enter the Indian market, found that India accounted for 10% of
the global trade in cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, saw its value soaring 1,700%
over the course of 2017 to settle at about $20,000.
It has, however, fallen sharply in 2018 on concerns about a global
5900 tons of medical waste per annum from Delhi-NCR: ASSOCHAM
The lack of proper disposal of hospital trash can pose a serious risk to
the health of people and the environment.
Delhi-National Capital Region generates over 5,900 tons of medical waste
annually — most of which remains untreated and is dumped along with
ASSOCHAM’s latest findings state that the Capital alone generates around
2,200 tons of biomedical waste.
The study also looked at Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad.
India has seen unprecedented growth in the number of hospitals across
Non-treated hospital waste always causes public health risks, including
AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, gastroenteric infections, respiratory infections,
bloodstream infections, skin infections, effects of radioactive substances
“We have to ensure that waste disposal is done as per policy guidelines
framed by the State government,” said ASSOCHAM secretary-general D. S.
Segregation and collection facilities for medical and clinical waste
need improvement not only in Delhi-NCR but in cities like Meerut, Loni,
Bulandshahr, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, said the paper.
About 65% of hospital waste is non-hazardous and mixing of hazardous
trash with general waste leads to contamination.
This leads to risk of infections and diseases in anyone coming in
contact with such items.
Waste pickers often come in contact with piles of waste, which may have
syringes or bandages with blood on them.
These are potential sources of infections and diseases.
Proper segregation of waste — be it at a healthcare facility or at home
— is important to ensure that waste pickers do not face such risks.
ASSOCHAM added that centralised biomedical treatment plants should be
put up in series as growing economies like India have huge prospects for
future healthcare facilities.
No sooner than that happens, the identified cities need to be equipped
with disposal facilities to protect public safety, health, environment and
ecology from degradation.