Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 22 MAY 2019
Plea for 100% verification of VVPAT rejected by supreme court
- The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition for 100%
random physical verification of EVM-VVPAT in the LokSabha polls of 2019.
- The court said that there were just two days left before counting
and the country should be allowed to choose its government. The court would
not stand in the way. Dubbing the public interest litigation filed by a
collective of technocrats called ‘Tech4All’ a “nuisance”, the Vacation Bench
of Justices Arun Mishra and M.R. Shah junked the PIL in a brief hearing.
- The Bench pointed out that all the seven phases of polling were
over and the country was looking forward to form a new government on May 23.
The PIL was ill-timed and would only disrupt the electoral process which was
on its last spring to the finish line, it noted.
- The PIL had cited the recent allegations of changing the EVMs even
as the Election Commission of India has strongly denied them.The PIL said
the Supreme Court’s order in April to raise the physical verification of
votes using Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (EVM-VVPATs) from one EVM to
five EVMs per Assembly segment was not enough of a safeguard from tampering.
- There was a need for 100% physical counting for foolproof poll
results on May 23, it said. On May 7, a Supreme Court Bench, led by Chief
Justice RanjanGogoi, had dismissed a plea by 21 Opposition parties to review
its April judgment.
Home secretary seeks better preparedness from states ahead of monsoons
- The Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba has called on the States
and Union Territories to step up their preparedness by advance planning and
deployment of human, physical and financial resources ahead of the monsoon
- He called upon the States to undertake capacity building of urban
local bodies, State Disaster Response Force, Fire Service and Civil Defence
since they are the first responders during a calamity.
- He urged the States to increase coverage of farmers under the
PradhanMantriFasalBimaYojana crop insurance scheme to provide immediate
relief to farmers in the event of natural disasters.
- In his address, Dr. DN Sharma, Member, National Disaster
Management Authority (NDMA), said that India has been able to reduce deaths
due to natural disasters substantially. While 385 people had died last year
due to natural disasters, the figure came down to 195 this year. He said the
NDMA has come out with the Urban Flood Management Plan in 2015, which can
serve as a template for tackling monsoon flooding.
India’s GDP growth forecast lowered by UN
- The United Nations (UN) has lowered its forecast for India’s GDP
growth in 2019-20 to 7.1% from its estimate in January of 7.5%, citing an
overall slowdown in global growth.
- The UN World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2019
report said that the global economy is experiencing a broad-based growth
slowdown led by slowing industrial production coupled with the weakening of
international trade activity due in large part to the unresolved trade
disputes between the U.S. and China.
- “Across both developed and developing countries, growth
projections for 2019 have been downgraded,” the report said. “Alongside a
slowdown in international trade, business sentiments have deteriorated,
casting a cloud on investment prospects. “The Indian economy, which
generates two-thirds of the regional output, expanded by 7.2% in 2018,” the
report added. “Strong domestic consumption and investment will continue to
support growth, which is projected at 7% in 2019 and 7.1% in 2020.”
- “India’s exports remain more robust, as around half of exports are
destined for faster-growing Asian markets,” the report said.Overall, the UN
lowered its growth forecast for South Asia marginally to 5.8% in 2020 from
the 5.9% estimated for the year in January.
High level committee pertaining to issues of Oil& Gas sector submits report
- The High-Level Committee (HLC) constitutedby the Government of
India to examine the issues relating to preparation of action plan to create
synergy among R&D Centres of Oil & Gas PSUs; tax issues and ways to benefit
from GST by the Oil & Gas PSUs today submitted its report to the Minister of
Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
ShDharmendraPradhan here today.
- The HLC, consisting of Dr. Anil Kakodkar, eminent Scientist and
ShriSidharthPradhan, an expert on financial and tax issues, also looked into
merger, acquisition and consolidation of Oil & Gas PSUs and the Joint
Ventures; explored the need and possibility of formation of new entity
dealing with oil services and supply of qualified manpower to Oil & Gas
sector around the world.
- Energy security is a key strategic priority for India.During2018,
India consumed 204.92 MMT petroleum products and 58.64 BCM natural gas
whereas the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas has almost
- India’s projected oil demand is going to grow at CAGR 4% during
2016-2030 against the world average of 1% though the projected oil demand
will be much lower as compared to the US and China. India is thus at very
precarious situation and to secure its energy needs in sustainable manner,
out-of-box solutions are needed. R&D is going to play an important role in
- The HLC, in the process visited, different R&D and training
institutes of different oil & gas PSUs. It also engaged with CMDs/ senior
executives of the Oil sector to understand the business, challenges and
opportunities in the sector before writing its recommendations.
Pakistani fishing vessel caught near Gujarat coast with narcotics
- The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Tuesday seized heroin, estimated
to be worth between Rs. 800 and Rs. 1,000 crore in the international market,
from a Pakistani fishing vessel off the Gujarat coast.
- According to Additional Director General K. Natarajan, Coast Guard
commander, Western Seaboard, they received intelligence inputs on May 20
from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and other agencies that a
Pakistani fishing boat was to deliver narcotics off the Gujarat coast to an
Indian fishing boat.
- ICG ship Arinjay on patrol off the India-Pakistan International
Maritime Border Line was alerted. Two additional Interceptor Boats C-437 and
C-408 from Jakhau and Okha were asked to join the search. An ICG Dornier
aircraft was also launched from Porbandar for aerial recce.
- Al Madina was kept under surveillance and intercepted by Arinjay
at about 9.15 a.m. on Tuesday. The Karachi-based vessel was then 08 NM from
the IMBL, inside Indian waters.
- “On initial checking, about 195 packets containing approximately
200 kg of heroin has been found. The Pakistani vessel crew are being
interrogated and the boat is being searched by various agencies,”
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Civil society groups seek revision of WHO’s guideline on biotherapeutic
- Over 60 civil society organisations from across the world have
written to the Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO) demanding
revision of the global health body's 'Guidelines for Evaluation of Similar
Biotherapeutic Product (SBPs),' which were adopted in 2009.
- Biotherapeutic medicines, also known as biologics, are produced
through biological processes and differ from the older generation
small-molecule medicines that are derived through chemical synthesis.
- "Unfortunately, both accessibility and affordability of this new
class of medicines in developing countries is abysmally poor, owing largely
to their high prices,’’ noted the group.
- Civil Society groups claim that even though a Resolution of the
World Health Assembly in 2014 mandates the Director General to convene the
WHO expert committee on biological standardization to update the 2009
guidelines, “till date, the secretariat has neither updated the SBP
guidelines nor has the WHO given any scientific reasons for the decision,”
the group added.
- The groups including the Cancer Patients Aid Association (India),
Section 27 (South Africa), Third World Network (Malaysia), and Treatment
Action Group (USA) have demanded that WHO, in its capacity as the directing
and coordinating authority on international health, promptly make public the
scientific reasons for insisting on comparative clinical trials for the
approval of SBP and urgently take measures to update the SBP Guidelines.
- They also sought public consultations to review the scientific
evidence with respect to the need for comparative clinical trials, among
India’s Gomathi Marimuthu fails dope test again
- GomathiMarimuthu had been the biggest surprise for India with her
800m gold at the recent Asian athletics championships in Doha, but now she
is in big doping trouble.
- The Tamil Nadu athlete has failed a dope test for a banned steroid
at last month’s Doha Asians and now faces a four-year ban. She had tested
positive in the Federation Cup held more than a month before that but the
National Anti-Doping Agency appears to have kept quiet about it.
- India could now lose one of the three golds it had won at the Doha
Asians and this could lead to a lot of embarrassment, something which could
have been avoided if the results had come on time.