Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 01 JANUARY 2019
JPC clears report on citizenship bill
- The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment
Bill 2016, which proposes citizenship to persecuted minorities barring
Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, is likely to table its
report on January 7 on the penultimate day of the winter session of
Parliament as the panel on Monday cleared the report rejecting all
amendments moved by the Opposition.
- The report will clear the decks for the legislation to become a
reality. The Bill proposes citizenship to six persecuted minorities -
Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014.
- There has been a strong resistance to the Bill in the BJP-ruled
Assam as it would pave the way for giving citizenship, mostly to illegal
Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who came to Assam after March 1971, in
violation of the agreement in the Assam Accord of 1985. Around 40 lakh
people in Assam have been excluded from the final draft of the National
Register of Citizens published in July.
- Rejected amendments include those moved by Trinamool Congress MP
Saugata Roy to make the legislation religion- and country-neutral. Mr. Roy
said the Bill should not limit itself to six religions. It should instead
say that any person who leaves his country due to religious, linguistic and
ethnic discrimination should be eligible for Indian citizenship.
- The committee has cleared an amendment moved by BJP MP
MeenakshiLekhi seeking to drop legal proceedings against six persecuted
minorities. The amendment, if accepted, could mean that Bangladeshi Hindus
lodged in detention centres in Assam, facing deportation or declared illegal
foreigners would get relief.
Nagaland declared disturbed area for 6 more months
- The entire State of Nagaland has been declared ‘disturbed area’
for six more months, till June-end, under the controversial AFSPA, which
empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone
without any prior notice.
- In a notification, the Home Ministry said the Central government
is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of State of Nagaland is
in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in
aid of civilian power is necessary.
- A Home Ministry official said the decision has been taken as
killings, loot and extortion have been going on in various parts of the
State which necessitated the action. There have been demands from various
organisations in the Northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing
the controversial AFSPA, which, they say, gives ‘sweeping powers’ to
- The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades. It
has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August
3, 2015, by the Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary
ThuingalengMuivah and government interlocutor R.N. Ravi in the presence of
Prime Minister NarendraModi.
- The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations
spanning 18 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire
agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.
RBI claims NPA ratios have improved
- The gross non-performing asset ratio (GNPA) of commercial banks
improved to 10.8% in September from 11.5% in March and is set to improve
further to 10.3%, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its Financial
Stability Report on Monday.
- GNPAs of state-run banks improved to 14.8% in September 2018 from
15.2% in March 2018, while private sector banks’ gross NPAs fell to 3.8% in
September 2018 from 4% in March 2018.
- Under the baseline scenario, the GNPA ratio of all banks may come
down to 10.3% by March 2019 from 10.8% in September 2018, the report said.
The ratio of restructured standard advances steadily declined in September
2018 to 0.5% following the withdrawal of various restructuring schemes in
- The restrictions imposed on 11 public sector banks under the
prompt corrective action (PCA) framework has helped in reducing contagion
losses on the banking system in case these lenders fail, the report said.
- While the Governor acknowledged that some of the cases referred
for resolution under the bankruptcy framework have lagged time-lines, he
said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) will strengthen credit
- Mr. Das said the shift in credit intermediation from banks to
non-banks has given the corporate sector a diverse choice of finance
instruments but added non banking finance companies need to be more prudent
on risk-taking. He also underlined the need to rebalance excessive credit
growth, especially the one funded by short-term liabilities.
New E-com rules a huge blow to big players
- It was bold a step by the government and a huge blow for the big
players in India’s e-commerce market. The new rules announced by the Centre
last week have indeed spoilt the year-end party for the likes of
Flipkart-Walmart and Amazon.
- These big players in the e-commerce space are now forced to go
into an huddle, and devise a new way out to sustain their business
aspirations in India.
- More than anybody else, these players will be hit hard as they run
their enterprises in India on a marketplace model, which does allow them the
luxury of having foreign direct investment (FDI).
- These firms have been said to use a circuitous mechanism to get
around the restrictions in a marketplace model. The back-door window is now
effectively shut for them.
- The rules will have immediate cost implications for
Walmart-Flipkart, Amazon and the like, who have built up huge inventory
(using their group firms to stock up with vendors who sell on their
- Further, there could be considerable noise as to how these will
hurt job creation in the country. Nevertheless, the fact that very many
unreported job losses too have happened with the advent of these marketplace
cannot also be wished away. To the extent that these rules are intended to
set right a wrong, these are welcome.
Awami league gets landslide victory in Bangladesh elections
- Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured a fourth term
with a landslide victory in polls the opposition slammed as “farcical” over
claims of vote-rigging, and clashes between rival supporters that killed at
least 17 people.
- Hasina's ruling Awami League party and its allies won 288 seats in
the 300-seat parliament, with the main opposition securing only six seats,
Election Commission secretary HelalUddin Ahmed said.
- Hasina's government had mounted a crackdown on the opposition, an
alliance led by the Bangladesh National Party, which urged the country's
election commission to void the results.
- Ms.Hasina (71), has been lauded for boosting economic growth in
the poor South Asian nation during her decade in power and for welcoming
Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.
- But critics accuse her of authoritarianism and crippling the
opposition -- including arch-rival and BNP leader Khaleda Zia who is serving
17 years in prison on graft charges.
- A daughter of Bangladesh's first president Sheikh MujiburRahman,
Hasina was gifted victory in the 2014 election when the BNP boycotted the
vote claiming it was not free and fair.
- Rights groups have since accused her administration of stifling
freedom of speech by toughening a draconian anti-press law and the enforced
disappearance of dissenters.
Pakistan shares information about nuclear installations
- Pakistan on Tuesday shared with India a list of its nuclear
installations and facilities as per the provisions of a bilateral agreement.
- The list was handed over in accordance with Article-II of the
Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks Against Nuclear Installations and
Facilities between Pakistan and India, signed on December 31, 1988, the
Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement here.
- Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi handed over the list of
Indian Nuclear Installations and Facilities to a representative of the High
Commission of Pakistan at 10:30 hrs (local time), the FO said.
- The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered
into force on January 27, 1991, provides, inter alia, that the two countries
inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered
under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year.
- “This has been done consecutively since January 1, 1992,” the FO
said. The practice of exchanging lists of nuclear installation has endured
despite many low in bilateral ties.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Study claims climate change affecting oyster populations
- Gulping down oysters has long been a favourite New Year’s Eve ritual for
the French, but as winters get warmer and summers drier many growers worry
there will soon be fewer of the molluscs to go around.
- Without summer rains that wash crucial minerals into the oyster beds,
there’s no plankton that serve as food for the oysters.
- Cold weather normally encourages a needed rest for oysters to mature,
said Yoann Thomas of France’s IRD research institute. But this winter has so
far been unusually warm and, paradoxically, too rainy.
- Rains may bring minerals that favour plankton growth — but they also
mean the molluscs spend too much energy eating.
- “Ten grams fewer for each one, that makes a difference in sales,” said
Philippe Le Gal, president of the CNC national shellfish producers’
- In 2017, the roughly 4,500 oyster growers in France sold 1,00,000
tonnes. “Oyster farmers will see volumes down by 20 to 30 percent this
year,” Mr. Le Gal said. “Climate warming is starting to have an impact.”
ICC announces teams of the year 2018
- International Cricket Council, ICC, announced women's ODI and T20I
teams of the year 2018, today.
- New Zealand’s Suzie Bates was named as captain of the 50-over side
and HarmanpreetKaur of India appointed captain of the T20 team.
SmritiMandhana and PoonamYadav are the two Indians who feature in both the
ODI and T20I squads.
- Other players to find places in both the squads are Australia’s
Healy and Bates of New Zealand.
- HarmanpreetKaur has been rewarded for spearheading Indian team to
the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 in the Caribbean in November
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