Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 14 January 2019
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 14 January 2019
NGT seeks explanation from meghalaya govt.on illegal mining
A month after 15 miners were trapped in a coal mine, search
operations for which is still underway, a three-member committee of the
National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Meghalaya Police to investigate
into nearly 1,200 cases of illegal quarrying across the State.
The green tribunal had imposed a blanket ban on coal mining and
transportation in Meghalaya in 2014, citing unscientific methods and absence
of safety measures.
Even after a month since 15 miners got trapped in a flooded
rat-hole coalmine at Ksan in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, no
headway has been made in draining the water from the mine.
On Saturday, an Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft flew in two teams
with 700 kg of underwater scanners and associated equipment to Guwahati
airport from where they were driven to the site.
While a team from National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI)
was flown in from Hyderabad, another from Planys Technologies was brought
Officials in Meghalaya said the NGRI team with ground penetrating
radar would try to map the Ksan mine and pinpoint the horizontal tunnels
branching out from its base while Mr. Kumar, using a topographical map,
would ascertain the flow and source of water.
Environment ministry worried on elephant casualities hit by trains
In 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC)
released ‘Eco-friendly measures to mitigate impacts of linear
infrastructure’, an advisory document for mitigating human-animal conflicts.
Despite this advisory, and many others issued by conservationists and
organisations, deaths of wild animals in road and railway accidents have
The MoEFCC told the Rajya Sabha, in response to a question by MP
T. Subbarami Reddy, that 49 elephants were killed in Railway accidents
between 2016-18 (nine in 2015-16, 21 casualties in 2016-17 and 19 in
2017-18). In the same 3-year period, three tigers were killed in road
accidents while eight tigers were mowed down by trains.
Three lions died in a train accident in the Amerli district of
Gujarat in December 2018. Prior to this, 10 lions died in railway and road
accidents between 2016-2018.
West Bengal and Assam together accounted for 37 out of the 49
deaths of elephants on train tracks across the country. While the number of
elephant casualties on railway tracks in West Bengal has fallen from five in
2015-16 to three in 2016-17 to two in 2017-18, the number of elephants dying
in railway accidents in Assam have increased in the same period — the State
recorded three elephant deaths by accidents in 2015-16, ten in 2016-17 and
14 in 2017-18.
According to the Ministry, several notifications have been issued,
including one on December 28, 2016, to Chief Wildlife Wardens, to implement
precautionary measures for minimising elephant deaths caused by train
NCEF diverted to compensate post GST revenue loss, claims Parliamentary
The 42nd standing committee on energy in its report on stressed
gas-based power plants tabled in Parliament earlier this month has pulled up
the government for diverting coal cess to compensate States for revenue loss
post-GST, and recommended financial support to the stressed gas-based power
projects in the country from National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF).
The NCEF was created out of cess on coal at Rs. 400 per tonne to
provide financial support to clean energy initiatives and an Inter
Ministerial Group chaired by the Finance Secretary was constituted to
approve the project/schemes eligible for financing under NCEF.
The coal cess collected from 2010-11 to 2017-18 amounts to Rs.
86,440.21 crore, out of which only Rs. 29,645.29 crore has actually been
transferred to the NCEF. The amount financed from NCEF for projects is only
Rs. 15,911.49 crore, or only about 18% of the total amount collected as coal
cess. “The Committee feels that the fund should be used for its intended
purpose i.e. to support clean energy initiatives and it should not be
diverted to compensate GST losses.
It recommended that financial support be extended to gas-based
power projects from the NCEF. The Ministry of Power should pursue this
matter with the Ministry of Finance, said the panel.
Out of India’s total installed capacity of about 345 GW of power,
gas-based capacity is about 25 GW or 7.2% of the total. However, its share
in terms of generation is only 3.8% as 14,305.30 MW of gas-based capacity is
stranded due to non availability of domestic gas and unaffordability of
imported gas. The consequence is that a large amount of assets in this
sector have turned ‘non-performing’ or ‘unproductive’.
India and the U.S. reviewed the progress on finalising two key
agreements during the 2+2 intercession meeting last week, apart from taking
stock of the overall defence cooperation. The agreements are the Industrial
Security Annex (ISA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for
Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), a foundational agreement.
The inaugural 2+2 dialogue was held last September and was chaired
by the Defence and External Affairs Ministers and their U.S. counterparts.
The third foundational agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security
Agreement, was signed on the sidelines. As the next step in furthering
defence cooperation, negotiations are on to conclude the ISA and BECA.
The U.S. has already shared a draft of BECA, the last foundational
agreement to be signed. “We have a working draft [BECA] which we are looking
at. It came some time before the Defence Minister’s visit to Washington,”
the official said.
The ISA is particularly essential as the Indian industry looks for
a greater role in defence manufacturing. It allows sharing of classified
information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian
private sector, which is so far limited to the Indian government and the
defence public sector undertakings. The ISA draft is currently going through
the official process in Washington.
India going for ‘farm to port’ project in the middle east
Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu announced here on Sunday
that the UAE and Saudi Arabia had decided to use India as a base to address
their food security concerns.
Mr. Prabhu was speaking to presspersons after meeting delegates
from the two countries, along with representatives from 44 others, at a
summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry here.
“The UAE and Saudi Arabia will use India as a base in addressing
their social security concerns. For the first time, India’s export policy
identifies the potential of agriculture along with horticulture, dairy,
plantation and fisheries,” Mr. Prabhu said.
The farm-to-port project will be similar to a special economic
zone but in the style of a corporatised farm, where crops would be grown
keeping a specific UAE market in mind. The concept has been accepted by both
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
New lizard species discovered in north east
Researchers have discovered six new species of bent-toed geckos –
a type of small lizard – from northeastern India, and one of them is from
Assam's capital, Guwahati.
While researchers found the Guwahati bent-toed gecko (
Cyrtodactylus guwahatiensis, named after the city) near a small hillock in
the urban sprawl of Guwahati city, the Kaziranga bent-toed gecko, the
Jaintia bent-toed gecko and the Nagaland bent-toed gecko have been
discovered from Assam's Kaziranga National Park, the Jaintia hills of
Meghalaya and Khonoma village in Nagaland, respectively.
The discoveries – by an international team from institutes
including Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Sciences and London’s
The Natural History Museum – have been published in Zootaxa. The researchers
first searched for geckos along, and south of, the Brahmaputra River in
Abhinaw becomes shooting gold medalist at the age of 10
At the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune today, ten year old Abhinav
Shaw became the youngest gold medallist in shooting.
He teamed up with Mehuli Ghosh to help West Bengal win the 10m air
rifle mixed team event. Delhi's Devanshi Rana bagged gold in Under-21 girls
25m pistol event.
Maharashtra once again dominated the gymnastics arena at the Games
to wrap up the Under-21 category with a whopping nine medals on the last day
of gymnastics events.