Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 14 January 2019

SSC CGL Current Affairs


Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 14 January 2019


::NATIONAL::

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 from Chennai.
  •  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 continued unabated.
  •  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 accidents.

::ECONOMY::

NCEF diverted to compensate post GST revenue loss, claims Parliamentary panel

  •  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’.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India looking forward to 2+2 talks with U.S

  •  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 governments.

::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 northeastern India.

::SPORTS::

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.

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