Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 15 February 2019

SSC CGL Current Affairs


Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 15 February 2019


::NATIONAL::

Delhi government’s power over administration to be discussed by a larger bench

  • A Supreme Court Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on Thursday gave a split opinion on whether the Delhi government has control over the administration’s services and decided to refer the question to a larger Bench.
  • Ruling that files on the transfers and postings of officers in the rank of secretary, head of department and joint secretary could be directly submitted to the Lieutenant Governor (LG), Justice Sikri said that as far as the DANICS (Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Civil Service) cadre is concerned, the files could be processed through the Council of Ministers led by the Chief Minister before being sent to the LG
  • Justice Sikri also proposed the setting up of Civil Service Boards to take care of service matters in case of grade one, two, three and four officers. The Boards regarding grade four and three officers could be led by the Services Secretary and the other by the Chief Secretary.
  • The court upheld as “legal” the Ministry of Home Affairs’ notifications of May 21, 2015, and July 23, 2015, authorising the LG to exercise powers in relation to services and directing the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) police not to take cognisance of offences against Central government officials.
  • The Supreme Court also confirmed the Delhi HC’s finding that the “appropriate government” under the Commission of Inquiry Act of 1952 is the Centre and not the Delhi government.

CAG now pulls up IAF over helicopter deal

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General in its report has pulled up the Indian Air Force (IAF) for framing its service specifications in the tenders for heavy lift and attack helicopters to suit “products of a particular vendor.” The IAF had chosen Chinook and Apache helicopters of Boeing from an evaluation process. The deliveries will begin this year.
  • The CAG also found in the audit that for the Apache attack helicopters, the United States government was supplying missiles from their stock whose “normal life of 10 years has expired.”
  • “Audit noted that in case of acquisition of Apache Attack Helicopters and Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopters, the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR) were aligned to products of a particular vendor,” the federal auditor said in the report tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.
  • Under the $3 bn deal in September 2015, India had contracted 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales programme. Deliveries are set to commence later this year and completed by mid-2020.
  • As per specifications, the rockets and missiles for the Apache helicopters should have a minimum life of 10 years extendable to 20 years. The missiles were to be delivered in 2018. “Thus Ministry had procured missiles which were 14 to 16-year-old at the time of delivery,” the report stated.

::ECONOMY::

SBI report suggests currency in circulation still short of target

  • While the currency in circulation has surpassed what it was in the pre-demonetisation days, it is still short of what it should have been and the lower velocity of circulation in larger States points to sluggish economic activity, says a report by the State Bank of India.
  • Currency in circulation has gone up to Rs. 20.6 lakh crore as on February 1. It was Rs. 17.97 lakh crore a week before 86% of the currency was rendered invalid on November 9, 2016. “Our current estimates suggest that CIC [currency in circulation] is still short of trend by at least Rs. 1.5 lakh crore.
  • Thus, any argument of cash coming back aggressively into the system and financing informal activities is not entirely correct,” said the report authored by SoumyaKantiGhosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI.
  • It added that in larger States like Maharashtra, U.P., and Karnataka, income velocity is far lesser than the national average, while in States like Chhattisgarh, M.P., A.P. and J&K, the velocity is much higher than the average.
  • “A declining income velocity of money clearly suggests that a pick-up in economic activity remains elusive. Rural economy still remains depressed, with latest inflation numbers suggesting any meaningful pick-up in food inflation is still at a distance,” it added.

Banks to acquire majority stake in Jet airways

  • A consortium of commercial banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) will acquire a majority stake in Jet Airways (India) Ltd. by converting part of their debt into equity for a consideration of Rs. 1 and advancing more capital to give the airline a lifeline to enable it to achieve a turnaround.
  • Jet Airways’ board, on Thursday, considered and approved a bank-led provisional resolution plan (BLPRP) that proposes restructuring under the provisions of the ‘RBI Circular’ to meet a funding gap of nearly Rs. 8,500 crore, including proposed repayment of aircraft debt of Rs. 1,700 crore.
  • Jet Airways said the conversion of lenders’ debt into equity shares would result in the lenders becoming the largest shareholders in the company and they would appoint nominees to the board.
  • Post availability of interim credit facilities by domestic lenders, an appropriate governance structure including the board composition would be put in place.
  • The airline did not announce the quantum of stake the banks would pick up. However, Mr.Goyal’s stake is likely to be reduced substantially to about 20%, post debt recast from 51%.
  • During the quarter, the airline restructured its network, moving capacity away from unviable routes to profitable ones.As part of its strategy to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs, the airline announced strategic changes to its current distribution process, which will be effective from April 1, 2019.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

India signs defence cooperation agreements with Germany and Sweden

  • India concluded defence cooperation and security protection agreements with Germany and Sweden during the ongoing visit of Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman there.
  • “The agreement that NirmalaSitharaman and I signed today is an important step in implementing the action plan on deeper cooperation with India,” Peter Hultqvist, Swedish Minister for Defence said after signing the security protection agreement between the two countries.
  • India and Sweden have had a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the area of defence since 2009.
  • Earlier in Germany on February 12 to 13, Ms.Sitharaman met her counterpart Dr. Ursula von der Leyen and signed an implementing arrangement on enhanced defence and defence industry cooperation to strengthen military to military engagement as well as defence industry and research and development linkages.

ICJ rules in favour of Iran over frozen assets

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that it has the jurisdiction to hear part of a case brought by Iran against the US, to unfreeze Iranian assets of nearly 2 billion dollars held in the US.
  • The ruling opens the way for the court to hear Iran's case on its merits. Iran filed the case in 2016, based on the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two nations, from which the US unilaterally withdrew last year.
  • The case revolves around assets seized from the Iranian national bank, Bank Markazi, which were taken by the US to compensate victims of a 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine Corps base in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Iran denies involvement in the attack which killed more than 300 and injured many more, most of whom being US military personnel.
  • The US has argued that Iran's claims to retrieving its assets based on the Treaty of Amity, were now void, following the US's withdrawal.The judges unanimously rejected the US claim that the case was an abuse of process, and that it should be thrown out due to Tehran's unclean hands.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

Study says majority of India’s waste to energy plants defunct

  • Nearly half of India’s waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, meant to convert non-biodegradable waste, are defunct. Further, the country’s inability to segregate waste has resulted in even the existing plants working below capacity, says an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment.
  • Since 1987, 15 WTE plants have been set up across the country. However, seven of these plants have shut down.
  • The key reasons for closure are the plants’ inability to handle mixed solid waste and the high cost of electricity generated by them that renders it unattractive to power companies.
  • The NITI Aayog, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, envisages 800 megawatt from WTE plants by 2018-19, which is 10 times the capacity of all the existing WTE plants put together.
  • It also proposes setting up a Waste-to-Energy Corporation of India, which would construct incineration plants through PPP models. Currently, there are 40-odd WTE plants at various stages of construction.
  • In addition, India generates close to 25,940 TPD of plastic waste of which 15,342 remains uncollected, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • As per the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, MSW generation will reach 4.5 lakh TPD by 2031 and 11.9 lakh TPD by 2050.
  • The WTEs have also triggered widespread opprobrium among citizens. For instance, there has been a continuous protest against the Okhla WTE plant for polluting the environment.

::SPORTS::

Myanmar beats India in Women’s Gold cup

  • Myanmar and Nepal will meet in the summit clash of the Women's Hero Gold Cup 2019 Football tournament at Bhubaneswar on Friday.
  • This became evident after Myanmar defeated India 2-0 in the last Round Robin match and Nepal beat Iran 3-0 in the other match on Wednesday to enter the finals.
  • Nepal was drubbed 3-0 earlier in the tournament by Myanmar but won against India 2-1

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