Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 08 December 2018
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 08 December 2018
MS Swaminathan sees GM crops as a failure
A research paper co-authored by leading agriculture
scientist M.S. Swaminathan, which describes Bt cotton as a ‘failure,’ was
criticised by India’s Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), K .VijayRaghavan
as ‘deeply flawed.’
The article is a review of crop development in India and transgenic
crops — particularly Bt cotton, the stalled Btbrinjal as well as DMH-11, a
transgenic mustard hybrid. The latter two have been cleared by scientific
regulators but not by the Centre.
“There is no doubt that GE (genetically engineered) Bt cotton has
failed in India. It has failed as a sustainable agriculture technology and has
therefore also failed to provide livelihood security for cotton farmers who are
mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers,” according to the paper.
“The precautionary principle (PP) has been done away with and no
science-based and rigorous biosafety protocols and evaluation of GM crops are in
The piece also raises questions on the genetic engineering technology
itself on the grounds that it raises the cost of sowing, and the insertion of
foreign genes (in the plant) could lead to ‘molecular and cellular events not
SEBI chief says liquidity issue of NBFC’s severe
The liquidity stress affecting non-banking finance
companies and housing finance companies since September 2018 has abated
significantly, and the Indian markets have performed better than several
developed markets despite high global volatility this year, the chief of
India’s stock market regulator Ajay Tyagi said on Friday.
The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman
said that the role of capital markets in facilitating fund raising to sustain
the country’s economic growth momentum ‘becomes even more important given the
stress in the banking sector.’
The volatility in global markets, caused by factors such
as uncertainty in oil prices, change in monetary policy stance of central banks
like the U.S. Federal Reserves and U.S.-China trade tensions, is likely to
persist, Mr. Tyagi said at a financial markets summit.
Despite the high volatility in the Indian markets compared
with ‘previous years when markets were just rising and people almost thought
they provide assured returns, the performance of Indian capital markets has been
comparable, not much worse than the comparable jurisdictions,’ Mr. Tyagi said.
FAO council approves India’s proposal to observe international
year of millets
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare
ShriRadha Mohan Singh has said that the 160th session of the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Council, currently underway in Rome, approved
India’s proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023. On
behalf of all countrymen the minister conveyed his gratitude to the
countries who voiced their support.
He added that this will enhance global awareness to bring
back these nutri-cereals to the plate, for food and nutrition security and hence
increase production for resilience to challenges posed globally by climate
The Minister said that in the Modi regime, India’s prowess
in agriculture diplomacy has grown. This international endorsement comes in the
backdrop of India celebrating 2018 as the National Year of Millets for promoting
cultivation and consumption of these nutri-cereals.
This is further supported by increase in Minimum Support
Prices (MSP) of millets. Millets consists of Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and minor
millets together termed as nutri-cereals.
Through the Department of Food and Public Distribution,
State Governments are allowed to procure jowar, bajra, maize and ragi from
farmers at MSP.
In addition, the FAO Council also approved India’s
membership to the Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP)
for 2020 and 2021 for which the Minister expressed his deepest gratitude to
other member countries for their support.
A U.S. resolution championed by Ambassador Nikki Haley
to condemn the Palestinian Hamas movement at the United Nations for firing
rockets at Israel failed to win enough votes for adoption on Thursday.
The proposed measure won 87 votes in the General
Assembly, falling short of a two-thirds majority. Fifty-eight countries
opposed the measure and 32 abstained.
Ms. Haley, who steps down from her post at the end of
the year, has repeatedly accused the United Nations of having an anti-Israel
bias and has defended Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas, the
Islamist militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
It was the first proposed resolution condemning Hamas
to be presented to the 193-nation assembly, which has been meeting since
Speaking ahead of the vote, Ms. Haley said the measure
“would right a historic wrong” and “put the General Assembly on the side of
truth and balance in the effort to achieve peace in the Middle East.”
China hopeful in sorting out US-North Korea concerns
Chinese President Xi Jinping told North Korea's Foreign Minister
on Friday that he hoped Pyongyang and Washington will address each other's
concerns so that peace talks on the Korean peninsula “continue to make
Mr. Xi met with Ri Yong Ho in Beijing as
denuclearisation talks have made little progress since a historic June
summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The international and regional situation as well as
the situation on the Korean peninsula remains in flux, so timely exchanges
and the coordination of positions between China and North Korea are still
extremely essential,” said Mr. Xi.
Talks on nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula
between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled, with Washington pushing to
maintain sanctions until its “final, fully verified denuclearisation” and
Pyongyang condemning U.S. demands as “gangster-like.”
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
NITI Aayog launches global hackathon on AI
With the vision to further expand the idea
of‘Artificial Intelligence, AI for All’ articulated in the National AI
Strategy, NITI Aayogorganiseshackathons to source sustainable, innovative
and technologically-enabled solutions to address various challenges in the
Taking the initiative forward, NITI Aayog is now
partnering with Perlin – a Singapore-based AI start up - to launch the ‘AI 4
All Global Hackathon’, and is inviting developers, students, start-ups and
companies to develop AI applications to make significant positive social and
economic impact for India.
The challenge question seeks to develop solutions
inDistributed Computing and Privacy Preserving techniques, such as
multi-party computation, in AI. The objective of this hackathon is to
promote awareness and subsequently develop solutions that deliver the twin
benefit of efficient computing to address the infrastructure challenges,
while also not compromising on privacy of data for training AI algorithms.
NITI Aayog organized its first hackathon, ‘MoveHack’
in August, on the sidelines of the Global Mobility Summit 2018, with the aim
of garnering cutting-edge mobility applications. Over 2,000 submissions were
received out of which the Top 10 teams were awarded at the summit.
National Champion Siddharth wins Gondwana cup 2018
National champion SiddharthVishwakarma beat
JayeshPungliya 6-4, 7-6(5) in the final of the Gondwana Cup Rs. 10,00,000
AITA ranking men’s tennis tournament at the VIP Club on Friday.
It was the best fight that Siddharth had in the whole
tournament, as he had dropped a total of only 16 games in winning the
earlier four rounds.
The doubles title was bagged by SahilGaware and
MohitMayur who beat ParikshitSomani and YashYadav 10-7 in the super