Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 05 APRIL 2019
Scrutiny of nominations for third phase to begin today
- Filing of nominations for the third phase of LokSabha elections ended
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
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).
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