Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 30 December 2017
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 30 December 2017
Upper house will send triple talaq bill to select committee
The House of Elders is likely to send the legislation making instant
triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to
three years to a select committee.
Cross-party consultations are likely to be held on the issue before the
Bill comes to the Rajya Sabha on January 2. Leader of the Congress in the
Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had pushed for the Bill being sent to a
In the Lok Sabha Congress MPs Sushmita Dev and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
had moved amendments seeking an independent corpus for affected women and to
remove the “criminality” clause in the legislation.
“We are not against the Triple Talaq Bill, but we are against the draft
presented by the government. We want a legislation that will be a bulwark
for Muslim women. At the same time sending Muslim men to jail will not
necessarily help the cause,” a Congress MP said.
The AIADMK, the BJD, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and
the Left parties are clear that the legislation should be sent to a select
First Draft of National register of citizens
A couple of days before the “part draft” of the National Register of
Citizens is published in Assam, that if someone’s name was not on the list,
it did not imply that he or she was not an Indian citizen.
On Supreme Court directions, the Registrar-General of India will publish
the list on December 31 to distinguish Indian citizens living in Assam from
those who illegally entered the State from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
The official said the initial list would contain the names of nearly 2
crore of the 3.28 crore who applied for inclusion in the registry from 2013.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy code amended by lok sabha
The Lok Sabha amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code law to prevent
wilful defaulters and existing promoters from taking part in insolvency
proceedings of stressed assets of companies unless they make their bad loans
operational by paying up interests.
The Bill will replace an ordinance that was brought in November to
prevent unscrupulous promoters from misusing the provisions of the
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
Replying to the debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the
government can’t allow loan defaulters to “merrily walk back” and take part
in bidding proceedings.
A defaulter, however, can become “eligible to submit a resolution plan”
if they clear all dues with interest and other charges relating to their NPA
The Finance Minister said the NPAs were a legacy issue and during the
UPA regime, banks resorted to “window dressing and ever-greening of
loans”.While moving the Bill, Mr. Jaitley had said the IBC law had been a
learning process for the government.
Changes have had to be made to ensure that ineligible people do not find
loopholes to walk back into the companies against which insolvency
proceedings were initiated, he said.
Commenting on the changes to the IBC, tax experts said that while the
intention of the government was good, all bad loans might not be the result
of wilful default, diversion or misappropriation of funds.
Darkening of siang river issue
The Union government has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese
authorities, including at the highest levels of the government, on the
unusual darkening of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh. The change in
colour came to light in November, and China holds an earthquake in Tibet
responsible for it.
Official reports of the colour of water in the Siang changing emerged
from the Arunachal Pradesh office of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on
November 10, attributing it to excess silt.
What caused a deluge in silt however was not specified, but the water at
Tuting was still potable, the CWC said.
However another report from the Arunachal Pradesh Water Supply
Department showed that iron levels were beyond permissible limits and
samples from the river beyond Pasighat and Jonai showed higher aluminium and
A public outcry prompted leaders, including Chief Minister, Pema Khandu,
to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch a thorough investigation.
“The reason for change in water of River Siang may possibly be because
of any landslide/earthquake/any other activity in upstream region of Tuting
site across the international border with China for which information is not
available. Exact reason is not known as yet,” Mr. Meghwal told the House.
The Siang enters India from Tibet, where it flows for about 1,500 km as
the Tsangpo and becomes the Brahmaputra after it flows into Assam.
Reports from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam blamed tunnel construction by
China in Tibet. India nevertheless broached the issue with Wang Yi, Foreign
Minister of the People’s Republic of China, during his visit to India on
December 11, 2017.
31 satellites including cartosat series to be launched by ISRO
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said it would
launch 31 satellites, including India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation
space craft, in a single mission on January 10.
The mission will be the first ‘Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’ (PSLV)
mission after the unsuccessful launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H
in August this year.
The mission’s main payload would be India’s Cartosat-2 series earth
observation satellite. The high-profile Mission Readiness Review committee
and Launch Authorisation Board is scheduled to meet soon to take the final
PSLV-C40 will be used for the launch from the spaceport in Andhra
Pradesh’s Sriharikota, about 100 kilometres from Chennai.
The mission would be a combination of 28 nano satellites from abroad,
including Finland and the U.S., one micro and one nano satellite from India
along with one Cartosat satellite, the official said.
On August 31, India’s mission to launch its backup navigation satellite
IRNSS-1H on board PSLV-C39 was unsuccessful after a technical snag on the
In February this year, PSLV-C37 launched the first Cartosat-2 series
satellite along with 103 co-passenger satellites in a single flight.
The Centre has released the much-required equity capital to six stressed
public sector banks (PSBs) as some of these lenders were on the verge of
breaching minimum capital norms on December 31, 2017.
The PSBs are Bank of India (Rs. 2,257 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs.
323 crore), Dena Bank (Rs. 243 crore), IDBI Bank (Rs. 2,729 crore), Bank of
Maharashtra (Rs. 650 crore) and UCO Bank (Rs. 1,375 crore).
These lenders would be asked to improve on parameters such as bad loans
and recovery to which effect a communication would be sent shortly.
According to bankers, some of these lenders could have breached the
minimum regulatory capital requirement, as mandated by the RBI, at the end
of the third quarter.
Banks are mandated to maintain minimum 9% capital adequacy ratio (CAR)
plus a capital conservation buffer of 2.5%. Within the CAR, minimum common
equity tier-I (CET 1) capital ratio is prescribed at 5.5%.
The Kolkata-based UCO Bank has informed stock exchanges that the Centre,
in its letter dated December 28, ‘communicated its sanction for release of
Rs. 1,375 crore towards preferential allotment of equity shares.’ IDBI Bank
has also informed the exchanges about the capital infusion.
According to latest RBI data, capital adequacy ratio of PSBs as on
September 30 was 12.2% while the CET 1 ratio was 4.7%. UCO Bank, for
example, had a CET 1 of 6.64% and gross non-performing asset ratio of 19.74%
as on 30 September.
All these banks are saddled with huge non-performing assets and are
under the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework of the Reserve Bank of
India — which means certain operations of these banks have been curtailed by
There were rumours circulated on social media, after PCA was imposed on
banks, that due to poor financial health, some of them could be closed down.
Both, the RBI and the Centre, strongly denied these claims.
Country set to receive highest ever FDI inflow
With government data showing that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth
$33.75 billion has already flowed into India in the first half of this
fiscal, the country is poised to see FDI inflows in 2017-18 surpassing even
the record $60 billion it received in the last financial year.
However, researchers have found ‘severe’ delays as well as ‘serious’
omissions and commissions in FDI reporting, and that these “problems were
quite pronounced in the record-breaking year of 2016-17.”
Meanwhile, consultants said the government would need to consider the
enormous foreign investor interest in sectors such as Multi-Brand Retail
Trade (MBRT), insurance and pension and look at ways to further open up
It also needs to tweak policies in segments such as pharmaceuticals,
spend more money on improving infrastructure as well as addressing red-tape
if it wanted India to attract even more FDI in the coming years.
Incidentally, according to CARE Ratings, “India fetched (a) mere 2% of
the total world FDI inflows in 2016.” It said India’s share was “very low
compared with the other peers”, adding that “Hong Kong had a share of 5%,
...while Brazil witnessed inflows of 4% of the world’s net FDI inflows.”
It said, “At another level, there is not much of a correspondence
between the FDI policy changes, selection of thrust sectors under Make in
India and the reported inflows,” adding that “incidentally, the problems
were quite pronounced in the record-breaking year of 2016-17.”
The report further said, “besides [the government’s] ‘Ease of Doing
Business’ [initiatives], there should be emphasis on ‘Ease of Doing Policy
Relevant Analysis’ also.”
However, the NDA government made a comparison of FDI from the time it
took over till now (2014-17) as against 2011-14 (during the UPA regime), and
recently informed Parliament that FDI grew in aviation and mining (both, six
times), automobile and auto-components (1.7 times), gems and jewellery (3.5
In the next fiscal, significant levels of investments are expected from
countries including the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Germany and the
U.K. in sectors including food processing, railways, defence,
infrastructure, automobiles and ‘Electronic System Design and
India could attract more FDI by further opening up sectors including
insurance, pension, MBRT (retail trade in products manufactured in India)
and pharma, besides addressing red tape and logistical problems.
India’s fiscal deficit at the end of November breached the target
India’s fiscal deficit at the end of November breached the target and
touched 112% of the budget estimate for 2017-18 mainly due to lower GST
collections and higher expenditure.
In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit — the difference between
expenditure and revenue — was Rs. 6.12 lakh crore during April-November
2017-18, according to the data by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA).
During the same period a year earlier, the deficit stood at 85.8% of
that year’s target. For 2017-18, the government aims to bring down the
fiscal deficit to 3.2% of GDP. Last fiscal, it had met the target of 3.5% of
The CGA data showed that the government’s revenue receipts were at Rs.
8.04 lakh crore in the eight months to November, which works out to 53.1% of
the budget estimate (BE) of Rs. 15.15 lakh crore for 2017-18.
The receipts, comprising taxes and other items, were at 57.8% of the
target in the year-earlier period.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections slipped to their lowest in
November as rates were cut on dozens of goods to make the new national sales
tax regime more acceptable. Total GST collections in November slipped to Rs.
80,808 crore, from over Rs. 83,000 crore in October.
Government warns against crypto currencies
The government has joined the Reserve Bank of India in cautioning
potential customers about investing in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin,
likening them to ponzi schemes where investors risk losing their money.
“There has been a phenomenal increase in recent times in the price of
virtual ‘currencies’ (VCs) including Bitcoin, in India and globally,” the
Finance Ministry said in a statement.
“VCs don’t have any intrinsic value and are not backed by any kind of
assets. The price of bitcoin and other VCs therefore is entirely a matter of
mere speculation resulting in spurt and volatility in their prices.
There is a real and heightened risk of investment bubble of the type
seen in Ponzi schemes which can result in sudden and prolonged crash
exposing investors, especially retail consumers losing their hard-earned
money,” the statement added.
“Consumers need to be alert and extremely cautious as to avoid getting
trapped in such Ponzi schemes.”
Private sector cyrptocurrency players agree with the Finance Ministry’s
call for caution, adding that the bulk of the cryptocurrencies in the market
are not reliable.
::Science and Tech::
Astronauts at ISS to get new years eve 16 times
As the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) orbit the
earth once every 90 minutes, they will experience New Year’s eve 16 times,
NASA has pointed out.That is 16 sunrises and sunsets while circling 402.3 km
above the earth.
The six astronauts will go into the last weekend of 2017 with light
duties and family conferences before taking the New Year’s Day off.
The current crew on the orbital laboratory comprises three U.S.
astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and a Japanese astronaut.
Ahead of the New Year, the astronauts are conducting life science
studies to help mission doctors keep astronauts healthier and stronger while
living in outer space.
Doctors measure the astronauts’ breathing and other parameters during
exercise to ensure they have the strength to perform strenuous activities
such as space walks and even emergency procedures.
Flight Engineer Scott Tingle of NASA was harvesting plants for the
Advanced Plants Experiment-05 (APEX) and stowing the botany samples in a
science freezer for further analysis, a NASA blog post said.
Scientists are exploring how plants respond to microgravity and
observing molecular and genetic changes.