Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 04 MARCH 2020

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 04 MARCH 2020

::NATIONAL::

Centre to establish exclusive body for river linking projects

  • The Central government is working on the establishment of an exclusive body to implement projects for linking rivers.

  • To be called the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), the proposed body is expected to take up both inter-State and intra-State projects. It will also make arrangements for generating funds, internally and externally.

  • The proposal for an apex body on river linking has been under discussion for the past 18 months. However, the official said that as of now, no specific timeline has been determined for the constitution of the Authority. Also, the earlier idea of framing a Bill, envisaging the creation of the NIRA, is not being pursued now.

  • The subject of establishment of the Authority was discussed at the last meeting of the Special Committee on Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) last week in New Delhi. Headed by Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the panel includes Irrigation or Water Resources Ministers and Secretaries of States. Since its formation, the Committee has held 17 meetings.

Centre brings in restriction on drug exports

  • India restricted the export of common medicines such as paracetamol and 25 other pharmaceutical ingredients and drugs made from them on Tuesday, as it looked to prevent shortages amid concerns of the COVID-19 outbreak turning into a pandemic.

  • Besides over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer paracetamol, drugs restricted for exports included common antibiotics metronidazole, those used to treat bacterial and other infections, as well as vitamin B1 and B12 ingredients.

  • In February, the Department of Pharmaceuticals asked the DGFT to issue orders restricting the export of 12 APIs and formulations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Although India is source of about 20% of the world’s generic drug supply, pharmaceutical companies in the country are dependent on China for two-thirds of the chemical components needed to make them.

  • The outbreak of COVID-19 has shut factories in China and impacted supplies, leading to fears of a shortage.

::ECONOMY::

ATM’s in rural areas recalibrated to replace rs.2000 notes

  • Automated teller machines (ATMs), mostly in rural areas, are being recalibrated to replace the cassettes for ₹2,000 bank notes with either those for ₹500 or ₹200.

  • This is because in such areas the demand for ₹2,000 bank note is not high while lower denomination notes are more sought after.There are a total 2.1 lakh bank-deployed ATMs in the country apart from about 30,000 white label ATMs.

  • According to Mr.Dastur, in the urban and metro locations, ATMs typically carry ₹2,000 notes. Bank branches in the urban areas also prefer putting ₹2,000 notes in their ATMs.

  • The ₹2,000 notes came into calculation after the demonetisation exercise of 2016 when ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes were withdrawn from the system.

  • According to RBI data, 3,291 million pieces of ₹2,000 notes were in circulation as at March 2019, which was roughly the same figure for the previous two years.A recent report by RBI has showed that the country continues to have a strong bias for cash payments.

  • Cash withdrawals from ATMs have increased over the past five years and India is next only to China in terms of cash withdrawals from ATMs. However, the percentage of cash withdrawals to GDP has been constant in India at about 17%.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

UN rights body to move supreme court against CAA

  • In an unprecedented and rare move, the Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has announced that it plans to file an application in the Supreme Court, asking to be impleaded in petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

  • Responding to the announcement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the United Nations body had no right to file a petition that will ask the court to appoint the Commissioner for Human Rights as an assistant or amicus curiae in the case.

  • The OHCHR plan has been criticised by diplomatic and legal experts here, including one of the 22 petitioners in the case, as an “overreach”.

  • Last week, Ms.Bachelet informed the Human Rights Council that the UN body had “great concerns over the CAA”. She had also met with MEA Secretary (West) VikasSwarup, who had travelled to Geneva to represent India at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council last Thursday.

  • MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Tuesday, “The Citizenship (Amendment) Act is an internal matter of India and concerns the sovereign right of the Indian Parliament to make laws. We strongly believe that no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty.”

  • “We are confident that our sound and legally sustainable position would be vindicated by the Honourable Supreme Court,” he added.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Study finds high levels of black carbon in Himalayan glaciers

  • Black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt, says a study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).

  • The team of scientists from WIHG, led by P.S. Negi, measured variations of black carbon concentration at Chirbasa, near the Gangotri glacier in the Indian Himalaya, located at an altitude of 3,600 metres, during the year 2016.

  • Black carbon results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. The fine particles absorb light and about a million times more energy than carbon dioxide. It is said to be the second largest contributor to climate change after CO2.

  • India is the second largest emitter of black carbon in the world, with emissions expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades, says an April 2019 study in the journal Atmospheric Research, with the Indo Gangetic plains said to be the largest contributor.

::SPORTS::

Indian shuttlers wins medal at Yonex Dutch Junior International

  • Young Indian shuttlersTasnim Mir and Mansi Singh won a bronze medal each in the girls' singles Badminton event at the Yonex Dutch Junior International 2020 in Haarlem, Netherlands. It was the first time India won two bronze medals in girls' singles at this BWF Junior International Grand Prix tournament.

  • Mir was defeated by third seed So Yul Lee of Korea 19-21, 10-22 in the semifinal to settle for Bronze yesterday. Mansi lost to Indonesia's SaifiRizkaNurhidayah 11-21, 16-21 in the semifinal.

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