Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 24 March 2018

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 24 March 2018


HC reinstates 20 AAP MLAs

  • The Delhi High Court quashed a notification issued by President Ram Nath Kovind disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.
  • A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar reinstated all 20 MLAs, holding that the opinion of the Election Commission of India to the President to disqualify the legislators was “vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with the principles of natural justice”.
  • The High Court noted that the poll panel failed to give oral hearing and opportunity to address arguments on merits to the AAP MLAs before arriving at its opinion that they held ‘office of profit’.
  • It remanded the matter back to the Election Commission to first decide the “all important and seminal issue; what is meant by the expression ‘office of profit held under the government’.”
  • The court told the poll panel to then “re-examine the factual matrix to decide whether the petitioners (MLAs) had incurred disqualification on appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, without being influenced by the earlier order or observations on the said aspect in this order”.
  • It also remarked that the poll panel failed to inform the AAP MLAs that O.P. Rawat, Chief Election Commissioner, had expressed his intention to rejoin the Presidential reference proceedings after his recusal earlier last year.
  • The poll panel had argued that the AAP MLAs had taken over and performed role and functions of political executive as Parliamentary Secretaries clearly showing conflict of interest and, therefore, disqualification was justified.
  • The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, appointed the parliamentary secretaries attached to government ministries after coming to power in March 2015.
  • However, a constitutional clause prohibits legislators or parliamentarians from holding any position with monetary or other benefits.
  • Known as ‘office of profit’, the clause is aimed at reducing conflict of interest situations for public representatives.
  • The government had claimed that the appointments would facilitate a smooth functioning.

Cambridge Analytica issued notice from Centre

  • The government has sent a notice to U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica — accused of misusing data of 50 million Facebook users — asking it to disclose if data of Indian users was used, and to name the entities that used their services.
  • Political parties in India, including the ruling BJP and the Congress, have accused each other of engaging the services of Cambridge Analytica, leading to questions over influencing elections “through questionable means.”
  • The notice addressed to Cambridge Analytica seeks immediate response to six questions, including “whether they have been engaged in any assignment to utilise data of Indians from the above cited breach? Who are the entities that have engaged them for the above?”
  • They have also been asked to clarify how they came to be in possession of such data? And was consent taken from the individuals?

Want review of 1994 ruling: Muslims

  • Almost 24 years after the Supreme Court said a mosque has no “unique or special status” and is not an essential part of the practice of Islam and namaz, Muslim parties involved in the Ramjanmabhoomi title dispute want the court to first reconsider its stand before going ahead with the hearing in the Babri Masjid case.
  • In 1994, the Supreme Court observed that “Muslims can offer prayer anywhere, even in the open”.
  • The 24-year-old Ismail Faruqui vs Union of India case dealt with the acquisition of 67.703 acres of land in Ayodhya after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
  • The constitutionality of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993 was under scanner.
  • The government justified it as a step to promote harmony. But the Muslim parties suspected it to be a veiled attempt to “perpetuate the consequences of the demolition of the mosque”.
  • It was in this background that the Supreme Court observed in 1994 that a mosque cannot restrict the state’s sovereign power to acquire land for an “undoubted national purpose.”
  • Moreover, the Supreme Court went on to distinguish between places of worship with “particular significance”, which have to be treated reverentially, and “ordinary places of worship”.
  • Besides, the Ismail Faruqui case order said places of worship having particular significance should be considered an “essential or integral part of the religion”.
  • A quarter century later, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, on behalf of the Muslim parties, challenged the rationale of the 1994 ruling before a three-judge Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
  • This Bench is hearing the over 70-year-old civil appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment for a three-way partition of the Babri Masjid site.
  • He challenged the right of the government to have acquired the disputed site under the 1993 law.

War on Drug Menace: Punjab

  • Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh launched the Drug Abuse Prevention Officer initiative aimed at engaging government employees and citizens to wipe out the menace of drugs from the State.
  • Paying tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at a State-level function at Khatkar Kalan on Martyrs’ Day.
  • Capt. Amarinder said the DAPO programme will involve engaging dedicated volunteers to work in their localities in coordination with the local administration, the police and the Special Task Force.
  • He said more than 4,25,000 volunteers have already registered on the DAPO website as part of the campaign and more applications were expected.
  • Referring to the demand to name Mohali International Airport after Bhagat Singh, Capt. Singh said the Punjab government has already taken up the issue with the Centre and he would personally pursue the matter.
  • The Chief Minister dedicated to the nation the Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Memorial and Museum to commemorate the sacrifices of the martyrs.

Unhappy over chaos: Venkaiah

  • Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu read out a two-page note to express his anguish as the House could not transact any business for the 15th consecutive day, with Opposition parties continuing to protest.
  • Mr. Naidu then adjourned the House for the day. In his note, Mr. Naidu said past disruptions should not be cited to justify the “present wrong”, and voiced the hope that the government would take the Opposition into confidence to ensure that the House functions next week.
  • MPs from Andhra Pradesh, including those of the TDP, and K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao of the Congress trooped into the Well shouting slogans for special status for the State.
  • While Tamil Nadu MPs from both the DMK and the AIADMK raised the issue of setting up a Cauvery Management Board.
  • Other Congress members in the Well shouted slogans, alleging the government was working against the interests of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in a reference to the Supreme Court ruling on the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
  • After paying tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukdev, Mr. Naidu stood up to express his displeasure.
  • The Chairman then went on to say that while some may cite past instances to justify the present impasse, the three-week disruption had no justification.
  • When Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel read out the agenda for next week, Mr. Naidu hoped the government would take the Opposition into confidence.
  • Mr. Naidu said he was willing to allow discussion on any issue, but placards and slogan shouting were not justified.

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$3bn tariff plan on US goods: China

  • China has responded guardedly to the decision by the U.S. to raise tariffs on a raft of Chinese exports, signalling Beijing’s intent to play the “long game” and avoid a trade war.
  • The Chinese Commerce Ministry issued a statement stating its plan to impose fresh duties on U.S. products, which would amount to $3 billion.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced a 25% levy on Chinese goods worth around $60 billion.
  • The Commerce Ministry said it planned to impose a 25% levy on 8 U.S. products, including pork and recycled aluminium, worth $2 billion.
  • Besides a 15% tariff was in the pipeline on 120 items, such as fruit, nuts and wine as well as steel pipes — altogether worth $1billion.
  • But the statement stressed that the U.S. should “pull back from the brink” and avoid the world’s two largest economies locking horns in a trade war.
  • In the first stage, the 15% tariff will be levied if the two countries cannot reach an agreement on trade issues within a scheduled time.
  • In the second stage, the 25% import tax will be imposed after evaluating the impact caused by the U.S. policies.
  • There could be room for dialogue as the presidential memorandum signed by U.S. President Donald Trump said that there would be a 30-day consultation period that begins once a list of Chinese goods that are targeted is published.
  • The Commerce Ministry said on its website that the U.S. move, restricting imports on national security grounds, “has severely undermined the multilateral trade system led by the WTO, disrupted international trade order, and has drawn opposition from other WTO members”.

John Bolton to become America’s NSA

  • John Bolton, who will replace H.R. McMaster as U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser (NSA), said that it’s a “great honour” to serve in the post.
  • “The U.S. currently faces a wide array of issues and I look forward to working with President Trump and his leadership team in addressing these complex challenges in an effort to make our country safer at home and stronger abroad,” he said in a statement.
  • Earlier Mr. Trump had said he was rebuilding the team that shared his views and priorities.
  • With Gary Cohn announcing his exit as the Chief Economic Adviser to the President on March 6, the economic agenda of Mr. Trump is being guided by Peter Navarro, Director of the National Trade Council.
  • Mr. Navarro, known for his strident positions on China trade, championed the punitive measures directed by Mr. Trump.
  • A serving general, Mr. McMaster will leave the U.S. military also. “After 34 years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service… ,” he said in a statement.


US-China Trade war may hit recovery: RBI Governor

  • Global economic recovery could be hit if the trade war between the U.S. and China escalates, renowned economist and former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
  • “There are very worrisome scenarios here. I think we should not take this lightly,” he said here.
  • Dr. Rajan, professor of finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, advised that one should stay away from a trade war particularly at a time when the economy the world over was in the process of recovery.
  • “I don’t want to use the word trade war. I don’t think they are there yet. But, I do think that it is very important that we stay away because it could harm the current recovery which has been beneficial all over the world significantly.
  • “And for it to do that at a time when the U.S. is quite strong and has got full employment is growing quite reasonably, it seems to me that this is not the time that we should do it,” the former Reserve Bank of India governor told reporters in response to a question related to the possibility of a full-scale trade war.

‘Make in India’ call for Battery producers: Power Minister

  • The Centre urged battery manufacturers to set up units in India as demand in the country was expected to grow rapidly following its push for e-vehicles.
  • Power and Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh made the appeal during a meeting with battery manufacturers.
  • “Tenders for procuring e-vehicles have already been issued and we have started procuring the vehicles,” Mr. Singh said. “This is going to increase.”
  • The Minister also said that future bids for solar and wind projects would be coupled with storage, adding that the Centre would soon come out with a policy in this regard with a focus on ‘Make in India.’
  • Mr. Singh also said that the Centre had already initiated interactions with resource-rich countries such as Bolivia to ensure an adequate supply of raw materials for energy storage sector.
  • “The industry representatives raised the issue of high GST (Goods and Services Tax) rates on batteries,” the Centre said in a statement after the meeting.

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