Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 05 April 2019

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 05 APRIL 2019

::NATIONAL::

Scrutiny of nominations for third phase to begin today

  • Filing of nominations for the third phase of LokSabha elections ended last evening.
  • Scrutiny of papers will take place today while Monday is the last day for withdrawal of names. One hundred and fifteen seats spread over 12 States and two Union Territories, will go to polls in this phase on 23rd of this month.
  • Fourteen seats each in Maharashtra and Karnataka, ten seats in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Chhattisgarh, six in Odisha, five each in Bihar and West Bengal, four in Assam and one in Jammu and Kashmir will also go to polls in this phase.
  • Along with Parliamentary elections in Odisha, voting will also be held for 42 seats of state Assembly in this phase.
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination from Kerala’s Wayanad parliamentary constituency at the district headquarters in Kalpetta yesterday.
  • In Assam, 62 nomination have been filed for four LokSabha seats of Guwahati, Dhubri, Barpeta and Kokrajhar going to polls in this phase. Maximum 19 candidates filed nomination for the Guwahati seat.
  • In Goa, 16 candidates filed their nominations for two parliamentary constituencies of North Goa and South Goa. For assembly by-polls, also taking place in this phase for three Assembly constituencies of Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa, nine candidates filed their nominations.
  • In Odisha, 69 nominations were filed for six LokSabha seats for the third phase. Elections for 42 Assembly seats will also take place in this phase for which 399 nominations have been submitted.

Government defends electoral bonds in Supreme court

  • The electoral bonds scheme allows anonymity to political donors to protect them from “political victimisation,” the government informed the Supreme Court.
  • The Ministry of Finance dismissed the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) version that the invisibility afforded to benefactors was a “retrograde step” and would wreck transparency in political funding.
  • But the government said the shroud of secrecy was a product of “well thought-out policy considerations”. It said the earlier system of cash donations had raised a “concern among the donors that, with their identity revealed, there would be competitive pressure from different political parties receiving donation”.
  • “Non-disclosure of the identity of the donor is the core objective of the scheme of electoral bonds in order to safeguard the donor from political victimisation… In any event, non-maintenance of the identity of the donor of electoral bond by political parties was driven by well thought out policy considerations,” the government reasoned.
  • The government said electoral bonds achieve the twin purposes of greater accountability in political funding as well as anonymity of the donor. If required, enforcement agencies can always check the details of donors from banking channels.
  • Protection of the identity of donors is also a reason why political parties are exempted from recording donations received through electoral bonds in their contribution reports to the ECI.
  • The ECI had flagged how donors need not provide their names, address or PAN if they have contributed less than Rs. 20,000. Now, many political parties are reporting donations less than Rs. 20,000. The poll body has a hit a wall in its enquiries whether these donations are sourced illegally from government companies or foreign sources.
  • The government said electoral reforms usher in a “marked shift” from the old system of massive cash donations to political parties.

::ECONOMY::

RBI cuts lending rates further

  • The monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the second consecutive time cut the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 6% on Thursday. It cited concerns over growth as it lowered the GDP forecast to 7.2% for the current financial year from 7.4% projected in the February policy.
  • The central bank said the output gap remained negative and the domestic economy was facing headwinds, especially on the global front. (Output gap refers to the difference between the actual output of the economy and its maximum potential.) “The need is to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment that has remained sluggish,” it said.
  • Four members of the committee voted for a rate cut, while RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya and ChetanGhate voted for status quo.
  • The committee maintained the neutral policy stance, which means interest rates can move in either direction. “With the inflation outlook remaining benign, the RBI will address the challenges to sustained growth of the economy while ensuring price stability on an enduring basis,” Governor Shaktikanta Das said.
  • The RBI lowered its inflation forecast to 2.9%-3% from 3.2%-3.4% for the first half of the current financial year and 3.5-3.8% in the second half, assuming a normal monsoon. “Domestic GDP growth is also estimated to slow in 2018-19, with high frequency indicators suggesting slackening of urban and rural demand as well as investment activity,” he said.
  • Bond traders, however, were not impressed with the 25 bps rate cut as they were expecting a higher quantum to address growth headwinds and deficit liquidity. The yield on the 10 year benchmark bond hardened from 7.27% to 7.35%.

RBI puts on hold linking of small loans to external benchmark

  • The proposal to link small floating rate loans with an external benchmark for improving monetary transmission seems to have taken a back seat, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deciding to hold further consultation with stakeholders before implementing such a scheme.
  • “Taking into account the feedback received during discussions held with stakeholders on issues such as management of interest rate risk by banks from fixed interest rate linked liabilities against floating interest rate linked assets and the related difficulties, and the lead time required for IT system upgradation, it has been decided to hold further consultations with stakeholders and work out an effective mechanism for transmission of rates,” the RBI said in a statement during the first bimonthly policy review of the current financial year.
  • During the December review of monetary policy, the RBI had proposed to implement the system of linking floating rate personal or retail loans, and floating rate loans to Micro and Small Enterprises, to an external benchmark from April 1, 2019. At present, all loans are linked to the Marginal Cost of Fund based Lending Rate (MCLR).

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India – Italy foreign office consultation held

  • The 7th Foreign Office consultations between India and Italy were held in New Delhi on Thursday.
  •  The Indian side was led by Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, A. GiteshSarma. The Italian side was led by Director General of Global Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Luca Sabbatucci.
  • In a release, the External Affairs Minister said these consultations provided an opportunity to review the follow-up actions taken after the visit of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in October last year as well as the entire range of bilateral relations, including political, defence, scientific, economic and commercial ties.
  • They also exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues, including cooperation in the United Nations and other international organizations.

India says Pak has not addressed concerns regarding Kartarpur corridor

  • India today said Pakistan has not addressed the concerns raised by it over the Kartarpur corridor.
  • Briefing media in New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India has sought clarification from Pakistan on certain issues but these concerns have not been addressed by Islamabad.
  • He stressed that India remains committed to realise the aspirations of people which flow out of pending demand of Indian pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor.
  • He added that New Delhi had also shared concerns on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee which was to be associated with Kartarpur corridor.
  • He said this is the reason that India decided to postpone the meeting between the two countries, which had been scheduled for 2nd of April to discuss the Kartarpur Corridor.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Scientists suggests shift towards sustainable food system

  • K. Srinath Reddy, one of the two Indian commissioners on the EAT-Lancet Commission, and president, Public Health Foundation of India (PHAI), at the release of the EAT-Lancet Commission’s report said “We need to find a safe space to provide food security to everyone by 2050.”
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission’s report, for the first time proposes scientific targets for what constitutes a healthy diet derived from a sustainable food system.
  • “With 1.35 billion people, that is, 1 out of 6 people globally here in India, India would soon surpass China to become the most populated nation in the world, and that too on one-third of the landmass of China. Feeding all our people a healthy diet in a sustainable manner without compromising on our ecology and environment is going to be the most important challenge for us in the coming decades,” said PawanAgarwal, chief executive officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
  • Presenting the EAT-Lancet Commission report, Brent Loken of EAT, said: “ If we don’t fix the food system, we cannot achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The great thing that FSSAI is doing is beginning this conversation in India.”
  • Presenting some key steps required for the ‘great food transformation’, Lawrence Haddad, executive director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012, said: “Taxes on unhealthy foods, subsidies for healthier food options, strong leadership in the public and private sectors and strong civil society movements, is the need of the hour.’’
  • Highlighting the importance of food safety, he cautioned: “As food systems become more formal and organised, food safety threats increase, not decrease. FSSAI has brought the worlds of food safety and healthy eating together.”

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