Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 25 December 2018
India to expand relationship with Bhutan
• India will host the newly elected Prime Minister of Bhutan
from December 27-29, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.
• A press release issued by the Ministry said that the visit by
Dr.LotayTshering, 50, will take place to mark the golden jubilee of the
diplomatic relations between Delhi and Thimphu.
• Dr.Tshering’s visit is expected to further firm up
India-Bhutan ties as it is likely to witness sealing of important power projects
to be implemented by both sides.
• Bhutan’s Foreign Minister TandiDorji during his visit earlier
this month told The Hindu that Thimphu will continue to have special ties with
India and avoid establishing diplomatic ties with any of the permanent members
of the UN Security Council.
• “PM Tshering has said he would like to take India-Bhutan
friendship to greater heights. His visit to India towards the end of the month
will be his first call abroad, and we will hope to finalise India’s assistance
for the 12th Five-Year Plan,” Mr.Dorji had toldTheHinduduring his visit.
Government eyes to promote exports
• The Commerce Ministry was preparing an incentive package for
labour-intensive sectors such as leather to promote shipments and address issues
of exporters, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
• Over a period of time, export sector would face challenging
issues related to credit availability, he added.“We are preparing a package
which will ensure that exporters’ woes are addressed properly. There have been
challenges for the export sector over a period of time and one big challenge is
credit,” Mr.Prabhu said.
• He said the package would focus on labour intensive sectors
such as leather, textile and marine products as they would help in creating
• The Minister said there had been a sharp decline in credit to
the export sector and the Department of Commerce had taken up the matter with
the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India.
• “I will meet meet the RBI Governor [Shaktikanta Das] and
explain him, what are the new things we need to do at export front. We are also
saying that RBI should classify credit to export as priority sector lending,” he
• The other challenge, he said, which the export sector was
facing was related to refund of Goods and Services tax (GST).
NITI Aayog wants centre to open up its dredging market
• India needs to open up its dredging market to boost trade by
its major ports, which currently cannot handle very large vessels in the absence
of proper draft depth, government think tank NITI Aayog has said.
• More competition, mainly from global players, in dredging
activities would help increase and maintain draft depth at ports and attract
large vessels, enabling them to become hub ports, the Aayog pointed out.
• At present, the Dredging Corporation of India and a limited
set of private vendors serve the Indian dredging market, limiting competition.
“The government needs to open up the dredging market to attract more players,
particularly international players, in dredging activities to increase and
maintain draft depth at ports to attract large vessels and enable them to become
hub ports,” it said.
• To enable major ports to handle large vessels, the government
has already made an action plan to increase the draft depth of ports.
• Most major ports have already achieved a draft depth of 14
metres or more except Kolkata Port, where deeper draft has not been feasible.
India meets Iran and Afghanistan on development of chabahar
• A crucial trilateral meeting of officials from India,
Afghanistan and Iran on the strategically-important Chabahar port was held on
Monday during which they agreed on the routes for trade and transit corridors
between the three countries.
• The first meeting of the follow-up committee for
implementation of the trilateral Chabahar agreement between India, Afghanistan
and Iran at the level of Joint Secretary or Director General was held in the
Iranian port city of Chabahar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
• Positive and constructive discussions were held between the
three sides on full operationalisation of the Trilateral Transit Agreement for
international transit and transport through the Chabahar Port. They agreed on
the routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries, the
• In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which
entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three
countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation
in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three
• The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich
nation’s southern coast is easily accessible from India’s western coast and is
increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being
developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 km
Former Pak PM convicted in corruption case
• Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was on Monday
sentenced to seven years in jail by an anti-corruption court in the Al-Azizia
Steel Mills graft case. It, however, acquitted him in the Flagship Investments
corruption case in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal.
• Accountability Court II Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik announced
the verdict in the two remaining corruption cases against the Sharif family,
after reserving the decision last week.
• Three cases — the Avenfield properties case, the Flagship
Investment case and the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case were launched by the National
Accountability Bureau on September 8, 2017, following a judgment by the apex
court that disqualified Mr.Sharif.Mr. Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme
Court in the Panama Papers case in July, 2017.
• In July 2018 Mr. Sharif; his daughter, Maryam; and his
son-in-law, Captain (retd.) Mohammad Safdar, were sentenced to 11 years, eight
years and one year respectively in prison in the Avenfield properties case
related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt
practices. However, the three were bailed out by the Islamabad High Court in
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study reveals remote islands as more susceptible to alien
• A recent study which analysed over 250 tropical and
subtropical islands has pointed out that being isolated does not protect islands
from alien species. Rather, remote islands are more susceptible to alien
invasion, be it from plants or mammals, the study found.
• With the increase in anthropogenic activities like trade and
transport, the biogeographical borders are broken down and the human-aided
introduction of alien species has been on the rise.
• The international team of researchers analysed large datasets
of alien and native plants, ants, reptiles, mammals and birds on 257 tropical
and subtropical islands, including India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands and
Lakshadweep. They used different statistical tools and assessed the relationship
between alien species richness and island isolation.
• The report says that alien species richness increased with
isolation for all five groups. They also note that with increasing geographical
isolation there was a decrease in the resistance of the resident species.
• “In the absence of competitor species from the mainland, these
[island] species do not need to sustain their defence mechanisms and can
reallocate the energy into other characteristics that they benefit from.
• The team urges that new nature conservation measures be
enforced to strengthen alien species management strategies and monitor potential
introduction pathways. There is also an urgent need to keep track of the already
introduced alien species to save our islands, which are hotspots of