Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 08 February 2019

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 08 February 2019


NHRC seeks report on witch hunting incidents in Odisha

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Odisha Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police over the State's alleged inaction to prevent witch-hunt incidents which often result in murders.
  • The NHRC has asked the two top officers to submit a report within four weeks. RadhakantaTripathy, a human rights lawyer, had drawn the attention of the NHRC over the recent murder of five persons, including a mother and her four children, in the Koida block of Sundargarh district.
  • The rights panel has warned that it would invoke coercive process under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for personal appearance of the concerned authority if the report was not submitted within the stipulated time.
  • Mr.Tripathy had moved the NHRC in 2013, pointing out that three women and one elderly man were paraded naked by villagers, branding them black magicians in Amapada village in Sundargarh district. Despite the NHRC recommendations, the situation has not improved in the district, he said.
  • According to him, over 500 persons have been killed on suspicion of practising witchcraft in Odisha during the last 14 years.
  • “Of these, 274 murders have taken place in the last five years alone. It suggests that the incidents of witch-hunting have not come down despite increase in access to education,” he said.


RBI reduces rates in order to boost growth

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday cut the policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25% in a bid to revive economic growth as it projected retail inflation to remain below its target of 4% for the next 12 months. The rate reduction was the first since August 2017.
  • The RBI also simultaneously changed the stance of the policy to ‘neutral’ from ‘calibrated tightening’, which indicates that the central bank remains ready to move in either direction based on incoming data.
  • The move will enable banks to lower their lending rates. While all six members of the monetary policy committee voted in favour of a change in the stance, the vote for a rate reduction saw two members breaking with the majority view by backing the status quo.
  • While some market participants had factored in a rate cut, there was near unanimity that the RBI would shift its stance given the softening inflation.
  • Interestingly, this is the first time since the MPC was set up in October 2016 that the Governor and the Deputy Governor voted differently. While RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das backed a rate cut, Deputy Governor Viral Acharya voted to stand pat.
  • Mr. Das observed that the acceleration in consumer price inflation in December was the slowest in 18 months.

Centre seeks states help in speedy implementation of PM-KISAN

  • Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare ShriRadha Mohan Singh has written to the Chief Ministers of all States for their support in the effective & speedy implementation of “PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi (PM-KISAN)” so that the entitled benefits are expeditiously transferred to the farmers.
  • In his letter to the Chief Ministers, the Union Agriculture Minister writes that under the scheme, selection of eligible small farmer families has to be undertaken by the State Governments and the necessary details such as bank accounts etc., are to be provided on the online portal so that the first installment of the benefits can be transferred to the eligible families.
  • For the implementation of the scheme, the States shall prepare database of eligible beneficiary landholder farmer families in the villages capturing the Name, Age, Gender, Category (SC/ST) , Aadhaar Number (in case Aadhaar Number has not been issued then any other identification documents issued by Central/State/UT Governments or their authorities, etc.), Bank Account Number, IFSC Code.
  • Though mobile number is not mandatory but it is advised that when available it may be captured so that the information related to sanction/transfer of benefit can be communicated.
  • States/UTs shall ensure that there is no duplication of the payment transferred to eligible families. Speedy reconciliation in case of wrong/incomplete bank details of the beneficiary should be ensured.
  • Shri Singh also informed that in order to make integrated platform available in the country to assist in benefit transfer, a platform named PM Kisan Portal ( has also been launched for uploading the SMF details at a single web portal in a uniform structure.

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Interactive session on Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation held

  • India has strong ties with Africa for centuries, and in recent times our development and economic partnership have become stronger. India and African countries share common interests in inclusive growth, trade and investment, and resilient economic partnerships.
  • This was stated by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu while addressing the interactive session on Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation in New Delhi yesterday.
  • Suresh Prabhu said that the impressive growth in trade between Africa and India stems from a mix of factors, including a growing stock of foreign direct investment undertaken by African and Indian corporate entities and deepening economic and political ties illustrated by a number of strategic initiatives, particularly .
  • “Focus Africa” launched by the Government of India in 2002 to boost trade and investment between Africa and India. Other key drivers include the Government of India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference Scheme for Least Developed Countries launched in 2008 which has benefitted 34 African countries, Suresh Prabhu added.
  • The Commerce Minister expressed hope that a resurgent Africa and a rising India can create a new paradigm for South-South Cooperation. He stressed on the need for right kind of investments in Africa, focusing on accessing the market coupled with the development of manufacturing capacities, seeking low-cost labour while focusing on human resource development and exploring the natural resources along with improving the infrastructural facilities.

India expresses concern on detainees in U.S

  • A group of Congressmen, including Indian American Raja Krishmamoorthi, have written to the U.S. authorities, asking that the Indian students arrested in the University of Farmington sting operation be “treated properly”.
  • The Members of Congress highlight the numbers on Indian students in the U.S. 17.3% of all international students or over 1,86,000 and their role in people-to-people exchanges.
  • “In the spirit of continuing cooperation on educational exchange programs, which benefit both countries economically and culturally, we ask that you ensure the students involved in this case are treated fairly, humanely, and in accordance with due process,” the letter says.
  • The lawmakers have requested that “full details and regular updates” be shared with Indian officials and that the DHS and ICE facilitate consular access to the detainees. Their own offices have also requested an update.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY:: boost energy storage technologies in the country

  • The Government of India has been making concerted efforts for developing energy storage technologies for managing the variable generation from renewable energy sources, including solar power.
  • In this regard, an Expert Committee chaired by Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has proposed draft National Energy Storage Mission that strives for leadership in the energy storage sector by encouraging manufacturing, deployment, innovation and cost reduction.
  • As per International Energy Agency’s report “Energy Storage – Tracking Clean Energy Progress”, the utility scale deployment for storage technology excluding pumped hydro storage in the year 2017 was 620 MWh and the cumulative energy storage volume including pumped hydro storage was 15.3 GWh.
  • Australia, China, Japan, Germany, Korea and United States are the leading countries in deployment of energy storage technology.
  • Through various bilateral engagements, India has been encouraging technological cooperation on energy storage. A specific proposal on designing research programme and collaboration projects has been proposed under the India- United Kingdom Energy for Growth Partnership.


MirabhaiChanu lifts gold in EGAT cup Thailand

  • World champion Indian weightlifter SaikhomMirabaiChanu today notched up a gold medal at the EGAT Cup in Thailand. Chanu won the 48kg category gold with an effort of 192 kg in the silver level Olympic qualifying event.
  • Making a strong comeback from the lower back injury that kept her out of action for nearly nine months, the 24-year-old Manipuri lifted 82 kg in snatch and 110 kg in clean and jerk to finish on top of the podium.
  • Points earned from this tournament will come in handy when the final rankings for Tokyo 2020 cut are done.

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